Lee Fang

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Lee Fang is a reporter for The Intercept. He has a longstanding interest in how public policy is influenced by organized interest groups and money. He was the first to uncover and detail the role of the billionaire Koch brothers in financing the Tea Party movement. His interviews and research on the Koch brothers have been featured on HBO’s “The Newsroom,” the documentaries “Merchants of Doubt” and “Citizen Koch,” as well as in multiple media outlets. He was an investigative blogger for ThinkProgress (2009-2011) and then a fellow at the Investigative Fund of the Nation Institute and contributing writer for The Nation. In 2012, he co-founded RepublicReport.org, a blog to cover political corruption that syndicates content with TheNation.com, Salon, National Memo, BillMoyers.com, TruthOut, and other media outlets. His work has been published by VICE, The Baffler, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Progressive, NPR, In These Times, and The Huffington Post. His first book, “The Machine: A Field Guide to the Resurgent Right,” published by The New Press, explores how the conservative right rebuilt the Republican Party and its political clout in the aftermath of President Obama’s 2008 election victory. He is based in San Francisco.

January 21, 2015

Refinery Lobbyist Invokes WW2-Era Quote, Calls Businesses That Donate to Environmentalists ‘Appeasers’

Charles Drevna, the top lobbyist for the refinery industry in America, likened fossil fuel companies that work with and fund environmental groups to “appeasers.” Paraphrasing Winston Churchill, Drevna said “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping he’ll eat him last, and that’s what’s happening,” referencing a donation from gas company to the Sierra Club.

Drevna was speaking to reporters after his remarks at the National Press Club.

“The environmental goal is to knock out coal … knock out fossil fuels,” said Drevna, who scorned Chesapeake Energy chief executive Aubrey McClendon for reportedly donating tens of millions of dollars to …

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January 20, 2015

NPR Reporter on Featuring Climate Change Denier Front Groups: ‘Journalists Just Love a Fight’

Merchants of Doubt, a new film by Robert Kenner, explores the history of paid “third party” front groups, designed to appear as legitimate scientific or academic organizations, that act to mislead the public on policy issues on behalf of their corporate benefactors. The film goes through the history of groups that were paid to raise doubts about the health risks of cigarette smoking on behalf of tobacco firms to the modern climate change denial network spawned by fossil fuel interests.

At a special screening of the movie in Washington, D.C., NPR’s science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel and Kenner participated in a …

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January 20, 2015

ConocoPhillips CEO Stalks Capitol Hill as Lawmakers Consider Keystone XL

Ryan Lance, the chief executive office of ConocoPhillips, was walking the hall of Congress as lawmakers debated the Keystone XL, a key priority for the company, which owns a significant stake in Canadian tar sands. TransCanada has disclosed that ConocoPhillips is slated to ship tar sands oil using the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Ryan’s as comfortable on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico or in Malaysia as he is walking the halls of Congress, as he’s been doing over the last couple of days,” noted former Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Armitage, speaking at an event with Lance at the Center …

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January 16, 2015

Americans for Prosperity Announces Legislative Agenda, Mirrors Koch Industries’ Corporate Wishlist

Americans for Prosperity, the grassroots organizing group founded by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch, spent $125 million in the midterm elections last year. Now, they’re calling in their chips.

At the National Press Club yesterday, AFP president Tim Phillips and several officers with the group laid out their agenda. The group is calling for legalizing crude oil exports, a repeal of the estate tax, approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking any hike in the gas tax, a tax holiday on corporate profits earned overseas, blocking the EPA’s new rules on carbon emissions …

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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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