McKinley Questions Environmental Activist Organizations On Russian Dark Money

Reports allege Putin funneled money to support efforts to shut down energy production in U.S.

Washington, D.C. — Congressman David B. McKinley, P.E. (WV-01), joined Energy and Commerce Committee members on letters questioning three environmental groups with financial ties to a San Francisco-based organization called the Sea Change Foundation, regarding Russian funding and influence over U.S. environmental advocacy organizations. 

“For years, there have been reports of Russia funding extreme environmental organizations, seeking to shut down energy production in America and Europe. We need to get to the bottom of this,” said Rep. McKinley. “The likelihood that Vladimir Putin funded radical environmentalist organizations in the U.S. is truly alarming. Russia benefits when America limits its production of oil, natural gas and coal.”

“The clearest path forward to ease the burden on families from skyrocketing gas and energy prices, is to lift all of President Biden's restrictions on U.S. pipelines, energy permitting and drilling, restoring American energy independence so that we can cut ties and financial support to these untrustworthy foreign nations,” said Rep. McKinley.


Vladimir Putin has allegedly used the Sea Change Foundation to funnel money into U.S. based environmental advocacy efforts designed to shut down and undermine American energy production. This means, Russia is attempting to solidify American dependence on Russia and foreign energy producers. 

The letters ask the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club to answer the following questions:

  • To identify the total amount of funding they received from Sea Change since 2006.
  • To identify the specific efforts the funding was designed to support.
  • To disclose if they are aware of concerns that Sea Change may be a conduit for Russian funding.
  • If they currently or ever have received funds from the Russian government or anyone connected with the Russian government.
  • If they have taken any action at the request of the Russian government or anyone connected with the Russian government.
  • Due to the recent bilateral pact between Russia and China on defeating sanctions, if they have received funds from the Chinese Communist Party or taken any action on their behalf.

All three of these groups were identified as top recipients of Sea Change grants since 2006.

Read excerpts and find full letters to all three groups below.

LETTER EXCERPT: “It has been alleged that Putin is using a San Francisco-based eNGO, the Sea Change Foundation (Sea Change), to funnel money into U.S.-based environmental advocacy efforts designed to undermine American energy production. According to a 2014 report, Sea Change receives contributions from a ‘Bermuda-based company called Klein Ltd.’ which is used ‘for funneling Russian government money to American environmental groups in order to undermine U.S. natural gas and oil production to Russia’s benefit.’ Notably, reports suggest that your organization is one of the top e-NGO recipients of Sea Change grants since 2006.”

CLICK HERE to read the letter to the League of Conservation Voters.

CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Sierra Club.

CLICK HERE to read what E&C Republicans sent to four groups over possible ties to the Chinese Communist Party.

The Energy and Commerce Republican members request the three organizations respond by March 25, 2022 to a series of questions regarding their ties to the Russian and Chinese governments and their funding.

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