EPA Greendoggle Sends Truckloads of Cash Through Revolving Door

EPA Greendoggle Sends Truckloads of Cash Through Revolving Door

  • June 28, 2024
President’s former climate advisor’s org getting $5B from EPA climate fund

As if the rapidly spinning revolving door between government and special interests during the self-proclaimed most ethical administration in history didn’t already look bad enough, it may begin to look even worse. For an example consider this scenario: An official helps dream up a massive government program that will partner with NGOs and finance companies to disperse many billions in tax dollars to other NGOs and finance companies. Then leaves government to join one of those NGOs or finance companies, which then receives billions from that very program.

That seems to be what former White House Special Assistant to the President for Climate Policy David Hayes did, and his new organization now has $5 billion in taxpayer money sloshing around. And that’s why watchdog Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT) has filed an ethics complaint with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics and the EPA’s Inspector General, asking them to investigate whether Hayes breached his ethics obligations when EPA funneled billions of dollars from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) – “Greendoggle” to its critics – to an organization where he serves as board member.

Mr. Hayes served on the board for the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC), a “nonprofit consortium of ‘green banks,’” until he joined the Biden administration in January 2021. In the White House, he worked “with the National Climate Advisor and the National Climate Task Force on issues ranging from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to accelerating the United States’ transition to energy sources like offshore wind and other projects.” As Mr. Hayes himself put it, one of his chief accomplishments was “establish[ing] the first-ever ‘whole of government’ effort to improve the United States’ resilience in the face of climate change.” And “he assisted in developing and implementing climate-related provisions of the IRA [Inflation Reduction Act] and the IIJA [Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act].”

Mr. Hayes left the White House in October 2022 and rejoined the board of CGC shortly thereafter. He also joined the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) as a Senior Fellow. NRDC is a partner with CGC and is an organization with business before the EPA, including litigation against EPA over regulations, commenting on the EPA’s proposed rules, and lobbying on environmental issues within the EPA’s jurisdiction.

Perhaps by coincidence, CGC announced he had rejoined the board in the same press release that announced it was applying for GGRF funds. In another coincidence, the EPA recently announced that CGC had been selected to receive $5 billion in GGRF funds from National Clean Investment Fund (part of GGRF). The relationships of staff and board members of GGRF recipients to the Biden administration and other allied partisan interests has also caught the attention of members of Congress.

“PPT has been warning that the size and structure of this program made it ripe for abuse,” said PPT Director Michael Chamberlain. “Though, we didn’t expect to see the abuses so soon and blatant – helping to create a program that throws billions at various organizations and then joining one of those organizations yourself? It certainly looks as though the green economy is generating lots of green for those close to the people creating it.”