Republican lawmaker calls on US Green groups to testify before Congress over alleged Russian funding

Representative Jim Banks told DailyMail.com on Tuesday that he would like leaders of US Green groups who allegedly received Russian dollars to testify before Congress if the Republicans regain a majority in November.

Republican House Rep. Jim Banks said on Tuesday he would call on U.S.-based environmental groups that received Kremlin dollars to respond to Congress if his party regains control after the midterm elections of November.

It comes after he signed a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking her to look into reports that Russian money is funding major green groups in a bid to undermine the US energy sector.

“When we have a majority next January, hopefully we call these groups – force these groups to testify before Congress,” Banks said in an interview with DailyMail.com.

He claimed these groups are “undermining national security” and influencing the Biden administration’s green policies as the White House promotes clean energy as a replacement for Russian oil and gas.

Representatives of organizations like Sea Change and the Sierra Club are expected to answer to multiple committees, Banks explained, including the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

“We need to force these groups and their leaders to come before these committees and testify and explain their entanglements with our adversaries like Russia, and the money they’ve received…which puts Russia first and America last,” the congressman said. .

The Indiana lawmaker, who chairs the Republican review committee, also demanded that environmental groups benefit themselves from Moscow’s cash register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act “due to the sum of money – millions of dollars – that these groups have received from Russian oligarchs.

GOP lawmakers have been sounding the alarm over such allegations since at least 2017, though they gained urgency after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine in late February.

Banks claimed Russian-funded environmental groups were influencing President Joe Biden's climate policy

He said if proven true, the scheme would seriously undermine the US response to Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The banks claimed Russian-funded environmental groups were influencing President Joe Biden’s climate policy, which he said would undermine the US response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The unprovoked and brutal attack threw the global energy supply chain into chaos, with fuel prices hitting crippling records in the United States and Europe before falling slightly.

Moscow’s goal in allegedly funneling money to green groups is to reduce US fossil fuel production while maintaining that of Russia, whose economy is more heavily dependent on energy exports. The huge country is among the world’s leading oil and gas producers.

Banks’ letter sent earlier this month, which is also signed by Representatives Bill Johnson of Ohio and Ted Budd of North Carolina, indicates a 2015 Free Washington Beacon report that alleges that a Bermuda-based front company with ties to Russian oil interests transferred $23 million to the California-based Sea Change Foundation group in 2010 and 2011, citing IRS tax documents.

Sea Change also reportedly donated money to well-known organizations like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), the League of Conservation Voters (LCV), and the Center for American Progress during those years.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden is using the Russian invasion to revamp his clean energy push, as a more permanent, long-term alternative to depending on unsavory international players for oil.

He announced a complete ban on Russian oil and gas imports in response to Putin’s continued assault on Ukraine.

A view of the destruction after shelling hit the Makeevka district in pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donetsk in Ukraine on March 22.  US banned Russian energy imports in retaliation for Putin's invasion

A view of the destruction after shelling hit the Makeevka district in pro-Russian separatist-controlled Donetsk in Ukraine on March 22. US banned Russian energy imports in retaliation for Putin’s invasion

Firefighters stand in the yard of a destroyed Kharkiv District Council building in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 22

Firefighters stand in the yard of a destroyed Kharkiv District Council building in Kharkiv, Ukraine on March 22

“I’ve had many conversations over the last three months with our European friends about how they need to wean themselves off Russia – Russian oil. It’s just not — it’s just not tenable,’ Biden said March 8.

“This should motivate us to accelerate the transition to clean energy. It is a perspective, as I said, shared by our European allies and a future where, together, we can achieve greater independence.

Republicans have proposed cuts to environmental regulations in an effort to increase fossil fuel production in the United States and reduce dependence on foreign energy. The requests were denied by the White House.

But on Tuesday, Banks told DailyMail.com that Green groups that would have benefited from Russian money are influencing the Democrats’ agenda.

He still hasn’t received a response to the letter either – and he’s not surprised either.

“Groups like the Sierra Club have a huge influence on the Biden administration,” Banks said.

“So it is embarrassing for the Biden administration and for these groups to explain that they are funded by Russian oligarchs who are profiting from the cut-off American oil and gas industry. [the] knees.’

He added that the Green New Deal pushed by progressive Democrats was “funded by Russian profits” aimed at “killing the American oil and gas industry.”

Banks’ letter also highlights a 2014 private speech by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in which she said, “We were even up against fake environmental groups, and I’m a big environmentalist, but they been financed by the Russians.”

But speculation about the Kremlin’s role in environmental groups abroad was sparked in the international community even earlier.

Former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said The Guardian in 2014, “I met with allies who can report that Russia, as part of its sophisticated information and disinformation operations, has actively engaged with so-called non-governmental organizations”.

These were “environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain European dependence on imported Russian gas”.

Banks' interview with DailyMail.com comes after he and two other Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to investigate allegations that the Kremlin laundered money through the intermediary of a shell company which would have given millions to the Californian group Sea Change.

Banks’ interview with DailyMail.com comes after he and two other Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urging her to investigate allegations that the Kremlin laundered money through the intermediary of a shell company which would have given millions to the Californian group Sea Change.

The European Union depends on Russia for nearly half of its energy needs, putting the international bloc in a precarious position to try to punish Putin while seeking ways to reduce its reliance on oil and gas from Moscow.

Banks have told DailyMail.com that Moscow-backed environmental groups were responsible for undermining the West’s response to Putin’s bloody attack on Ukraine today.

“There is no doubt that these environmental groups like the Sierra Club, which have taken millions of dollars from Russian oligarchs, are undermining our ability to project our force against Russia,” the lawmaker explained.

He said they “have undermined our ability to push back against Russia, to take advantage of the American reserves of energy, oil and gas that we have here at home.”

A parallel effort to Banks’ letter is underway by a broader group of House Republicans, who have sent letters directly to the Sierra Club, NRDC and LCV asking them to disclose whether their leaders are “aware of concerns according to which Sea Change could be a conduit for Russia”. funding.’

The three groups before refuse accusations that they profit from Kremlin dollars.

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