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Sea Change Foundation, George Soros support many of same environmental groups

The San Francisco foundation under scrutiny by House Republicans for alleged ties to Russian anti-fracking funding supports many of the same environmental groups that liberal billionaire George Soros does.

A report released Tuesday by the conservative Media Research Center found that Mr. Soros, a top Democratic Party donor, has given more than $ 75.5 million to 10 of the same environmental nonprofits that also received funding from the Sea Change Foundation.

From 2010-11, the liberal foundation known for its environmental advocacy gave $ 26.6 million to the 10 organizations, which include the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council.

The foundation received $ 23 million in 2010-11 from Klein Ltd. of Bermuda, which has been accused of operating as a shell company in order to funnel Russian money to the U.S. anti-fracking movement, according to a June 29 letter from key Republicans on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.

Klein attorney Roderick M. Forrest denied the allegations as “completely false and irresponsible” after the company was singled out in the letter, which cited a December 2015 report by Big Green Radicals, a project of the free-market Environmental Policy Alliance.

Nonprofit groups routinely receive funding from foundations, which themselves may receive contributions from multiple donors whose identities are not disclosed to grant recipients.

An LCV spokesman said last week that the longstanding environmental group has “no connections to Russia.”

The letter, signed by House Science Chairman Lamar Smith and energy subcommittee chairman Randy Weber, urged Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to launch an investigation into whether Russian oligarchs are funding of the anti-fracking movement.

Hydraulic fracturing has fueled a U.S. fossil-fuel boom that threatens to rival Russia’s dominance as “the world’s largest oil and gas exporting machine,” according to Forbes.

About 68 percent of Russia’s total exports are petroleum products, much of them going to Eastern Europe, but last month U.S. producers for the first time sent liquefied national gas to Poland.

“The strategy of Sea Change is to apply domestic political pressure using its deep pockets — with most of the funding coming from Russia,” said the letter.

The committee is conducting oversight over “what appears to be a concerted effort by foreign entities to funnel millions of dollars through various nonprofit entities to influence the U.S. energy market.”

The MRC Newsbusters report cited data from the Foundation Directory.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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