Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Poll Analyses
Share on Facebook 15 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Coal Giant Provided Secret Financing To Group Challenging Climate Lawsuits

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages) (View How Many People Read This)   2 comments
Author 70289
Message Lee Fang
Become a Fan
  (4 fans)

From The Intercept

Fossil fuels damage the atmosphere
Fossil fuels damage the atmosphere
(Image by Wikipedia (
  Details   DMCA

IN 2018, a new group appeared seemingly out of nowhere and immediately took aim at the recent wave of lawsuits filed by state attorneys general designed to hold major fossil fuel companies responsible for allegedly misleading investors and customers about the true risk of carbon pollution.

"The global warming lobby has gone too far this time," declared the innocuously named group, Government Accountability and Oversight, in a video posted on its website. GAO claimed that the lawsuits, which target Exxon Mobil, Shell Oil, and Chevron, among other corporations, represent a form of government over-reach and that prosecutors are colluding with activist interest groups in an unethical manner.

GAO, which is run as a for-profit company and foundation, does not disclose its donors nor does it provide much information about its origins. But on Saturday, a bankruptcy court in southern Ohio released a filing revealing that the organization received three donations totaling $300,000 from Murray Energy, the largest privately held coal-mining company in the United States. The first payment was made on June 7, 2018, just one month after GAO announced its intention to "expose" the litigation effort against energy companies.

That a secretive group working to defend the fossil fuel industry is financed by Murray Energy may come as no surprise.

Bob Murray, the billionaire founder of Murray Energy, a prolific GOP donor, and early supporter of President Donald Trump, is an outspoken critic of environmental regulations and activist groups. Murray's influence over the administration, including the push to unravel Environmental Protection Agency rules on carbon emissions and exit the Paris climate accords, is well documented. Even the current chief of the EPA, Andrew Wheeler, is a former lobbyist for Murray.

GAO and Murray Energy did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company has provided over $3.8 million in campaign contributions to a range of federal politicians over the last five years, according to the Federal Election Commission. That figure, however, appears to be only part of the story in terms of the company's influence over the political debate.

In October, following a precipitous drop in coal demand, Murray's company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, forcing the firm to disclose its recent history of payments to outside political entities. As part of the company's restructuring process, it filed a statement of financial affairs, which lists creditors and liabilities, as well as a list of recent charitable donations and grants, which revealed the payments to GAO, among many other new revelations about the coal company's hidden hand in the climate change debate.

Murray Energy showered donations to several think tanks focused on questioning the link between human activity and global warming, providing grants to groups such as the Heartland Institute, which once sponsored billboards comparing those who accept climate change to the Unabomber. The Ohio-based coal giant gave $30,000 to the Heartland Institute in March of last year, shortly after the group announced a campaign to save coal companies on the brink of closure, followed by another $100,00 in contributions in the months that followed.

Murray Energy showered donations to several think tanks focused on questioning the link between human activity and global warming.

Next Page  1  |  2


Well Said 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Lee Fang Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

LEE FANG  Lee Fang is a  reporting fellow with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute. He covers money in politics, conservative movements and lobbying. Lee's work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Romney Hires Voter Suppression Guru

GOP Mogul Behind Drug Rehab "Torture" Centers Is Bankrolling Opposition to Pot Legalization in Colorado

In Recorded Message To Drone Lobby Group, Congressman Rick Berg Brags About Loyalty To Industry

Revealed: Secretive Group Working To Suppress Voting In Maine Funded In Part By Wisconsin Businesses

Saudi-Led Oil Lobby Group Financed 2012 Dark Money Attack Ads

Grover Norquist's Budget Is Largely Financed by Just Two Billionaire-Backed Nonprofits

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: