Lee Fang

[email protected]

Lee Fang, a freelance journalist, is the former Senior Investigator for United Republic and a former investigative blogger for ThinkProgress.org. He has broken stories that include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s foreign funding, the attendance of U.S. Supreme Court justices at secretive political fundraisers and the stealth efforts by lobbyists to orchestrate and control the Tea Party. Lee’s work has resulted in multiple calls for hearings in Congress and the Federal Election Commission. His book on the campaign to block Obama’s domestic priorities is slated for publication in late 2012.

December 18, 2014
Jeff Shockey, a lobbyist for defense contractors and Academi. He will soon lead the day to day operations of the House Intelligence Committee.
Jeff Shockey, a lobbyist for defense contractors and Academi. He will soon lead the day to day operations of the House Intelligence Committee.

Blackwater Lobbyist Will Manage the House Intelligence Committee

After lobbyist-run SuperPACs and big money efforts dominated the last election, legislators are now appointing lobbyists to literally manage the day-to-day affairs of Congress. For the House Intelligence Committee, which oversees government intelligence operations and agencies, the changing of the guard means a lobbyist for Academi, the defense contractor formerly known as Blackwater, is now in charge.

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), the incoming chairman of the Intelligence Committee when the House reconvenes in January, announced that Jeff Shockey will be the new Staff Director of the committee. As a paid representative of Academi, Shockey and his firm have earned $80,000 this …

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December 15, 2014
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Shell Warns Oil Industry May Join Big Coal’s War on EPA to Prevent ‘Precedent’ of Carbon Regulation

Expect much of the fossil fuel industry to oppose the upcoming Environmental Protection Act rules governing carbon emissions from power plants, says a senior executive from Shell Oil. Though the agency’s new Clean Power Plan impacts existing coal-fire power plants, the Shell spokesperson suggested that the oil and gas industry may lobby to block the regulation to prevent the “precedent” of wide-ranging regulations on other carbon polluters.

“In my sector, the oil and gas sector, they view coal first, and oil and gas next. So when they saw what producers have called the ‘War on Coal,’ and they felt that if the administration is …

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December 11, 2014
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute
Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute

Deniers’ Latest Attack on UN Summit: Poor Countries’ Delegates Show Up Just for the Per Diem

LIMA, PERU — Climate science deniers have routinely appeared at international summits to address global warming, hoping to bog down the process with a litany of arguments and colorful publicity stunts. They’ve charged, for instance, that there is a global conspiracy of UN scientists working to “manufacture a global warming crisis.” At recent events, echoing the coal giant Peabody’s new campaign, the same cadre of deniers have claimed that any reductions in CO2 emissions will limit the development of African nations.

Now here’s a relatively new line of criticism: Delegates from poor nations are showing up to the …

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December 10, 2014
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At UN Summit, Businesses Back Climate Reforms While Quietly Financing Lobby to Kill Them

LIMA, PERU — Several fossil fuel interests are here at the United Nations climate negotiations, putting on their best public face in support of reducing carbon emissions. Despite the lofty rhetoric, with some pledging to lead the way in reducing carbon pollution, the same corporate actors are also fueling efforts to block any substantive reforms.

It’s been called the “Jekyll and Hyde Approach to Climate Change.” In other words, businesses are boosting their brand by appearing to support climate reforms, while working to block policies to achieve these goals at very same time.

Republic Report talked to several corporate lobbyists and business representatives at the summit this …

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November 18, 2014
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WV Activist to Senator Inhofe: Give Blankenship Campaign Money to the Community

Last week, Republic Report revealed that recently indicted former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship had given campaign cash to only one federal politician this campaign cycle: Republican Senator Jim Inhofe.

Now, a prominent West Virginia activist, Vernon Haltom, the executive director of Coal River Mountain Watch, is writing to Sen. Inhofe to highlight that donation. In a letter he shared with Republic Report, Vernon says that Blankenship’s “reprehensible, inexcusable contempt for workers’ safety resulted in heartbreak for the families and community of 29 miners.” He goes on to call for the Oklahoma senator to “please consider returning that campaign donation …

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November 18, 2014
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Exxon-Backed Legislation to Increase Corporate Influence over EPA’s Scientific Board Passes

In the midst of congressional votes on the Keystone XL and NSA reform, the House of Representatives just passed a far-ranging bill to compel the EPA’s board of scientific advisors to include industry representatives. The bill, H.R. 1422, the Science Advisory Board Reform Act, is the latest attempt by the Republican-held Congress to manipulate the science underpinning environmental regulations.

The bill has been sharply criticized by scientists, environmental groups, and public health experts because it compromises the scientific independence of the EPA’s scientific advisors, noted Emily Atkins of ThinkProgress. The Union of Concerned Scientists explains that the bill “opens the door to more …

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November 18, 2014
Richard Verma, a consultant to Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart backed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety
Richard Verma, a consultant to Wal-Mart and the Wal-Mart backed Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety

Madeleine Albright’s Consulting Firm Behind Effort to Undercut Bangladesh Safety Standards

The tragic Dhaka garment factory disaster in Bangladesh last year placed international pressure on global retailers to take responsibility and force their suppliers to increase safety standards. Though many North American and European brands signed onto a fairly strong safety agreement known as the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, several companies with suppliers in Bangladesh refused, most notably, Wal-Mart and GAP.

Wal-Mart and GAP, rather than signing the Accord’s binding safety agreement, developed their own standard with fewer commitments and no legally binding promise to take financial responsibility for future disasters. While the Accord mandates that retailers help provide funds for safety …

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November 18, 2014
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Oil Companies Continue to Lavish ‘Grassroots’ Pro-Keystone XL Groups with Cash

As Republic Report has previously noted, a group called the Consumer Energy Alliance has led the grassroots-organizing efforts to pressure politicians to support the Keystone XL pipeline. The group has mobilized letters to Congress, petitions to the State Department, and maintains a website caleld “BuildKXLNOW.org,” among other efforts.

New disclosure information obtained by Republic Report reveals that CEA continues to receive big donations from the nation’s largest oil companies, including firms positioned to profit from the shipment of tar sands oil from Alberta to the gulf coast.

The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers — a trade group that represents Koch Industries, Continue Reading »

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