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Senate Dems vowed to oppose dark money, but praised a liberal dark money operative.

Democrats’ Dark Money Hypocrisy Exposed During Senate Finance Committee Hearing

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

When Democrats took control of the Senate Finance Committee in 2021, they vowed to take on dark money groups. However, during a recent hearing, they invited BlueGreen Alliance legislative director Katie Harris, a dark money operative, to testify in favor of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Throughout the hearing, committee members praised BlueGreen Alliance, a political nonprofit that does not disclose its donors. This hypocrisy was highlighted by Michigan Democratic senator Debbie Stabenow, who said during the hearing, “I want to thank the BlueGreen Alliance, who I’ve been working with seems like forever.”

Democrats’ Rhetoric Against Dark Money

This praise for a dark money group is in stark contrast to the intense rhetoric against dark money by Senate Finance Committee Democrats. Chairman Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) promised to “take on the uber-wealthy, dark money groups, and special interest organizations.” Fellow committee member Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) called dark money a “seeping poison” that poses an existential threat to democracy. Whitehouse also partnered with committee colleague Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) to urge the Biden administration to “reign in abuse by ‘dark money’ organizations.”

BlueGreen Alliance’s Ties to Shadowy Networks

BlueGreen Alliance is intimately familiar with the power of dark money. The nonprofit, which counts a number of labor unions and environmental organizations as members, is a known partner of Democracy Alliance, a shadowy network of liberal millionaires and billionaires that funds left-wing groups and liberal candidates. In 2014, the network included BlueGreen Alliance on its “Progressive Infrastructure Map,” which highlighted groups that deep-pocketed donors should support given their work to “drive the progressive agenda.”

Environmental Groups’ Donations to Senate Finance Committee Democrats

BlueGreen Alliance’s member organizations have donated nearly $3 million to the Senate Finance Committee’s Democratic members, according to federal campaign finance disclosures. These member organizations include the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Service Employees International Union, all of whom endorsed Biden in 2020.

Other Shadowy Environmental Groups

BlueGreen Alliance is not the only shadowy environmental group that partners with leading Democrats. The Energy and Policy Institute, organized in a way that allows it to conceal both its owners and funders, is a favorite among liberal lawmakers and mainstream media outlets working to criticize the oil and gas industry and the dark money networks supporting it. Still, that has not stopped top Democrats from working with the institute.

While neither BlueGreen Alliance nor its affiliate organization, BlueGreen Alliance Foundation, discloses donors, some of the groups’ contributors are known publicly. Energy company Phillips 66 roughly a decade ago voluntarily disclosed that it gave the alliance $25,000. The alliance has also received hundreds of thousands of dollars from liberal foundations such as the Hewlett Foundation and Schmidt Family Foundation, according to the foundations’ disclosures.

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