Energy

Enviros Bemoan Cash-Strapped DNC’s Acceptance Of Fossil Fuel Cash

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

Environmentalists are lambasting the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for reversing an earlier decision and choosing to once again accept donations from fossil fuel companies.

National Democrats, as part of their climate change agenda, have increasingly turned against companies that are involved in the fossil fuel industry. Along with calls for divestment from any company that produces carbon emissions, Democratic politicians and candidates are disavowing their donations altogether. The Democratic National Committee appeared to take an unprecedented step in this direction when executive members in June voted unanimously to no longer accept campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies.

But this decision did not last very long.

Just two months after passing the resolution, the DNC completely reversed course and voted to allow fossil fuel donations back into their coffers. DNC Chairman Tom Perez attributed the reversal as a nod to inclusivity, saying in a statement that: “We have to draw the line that we are indeed a party of a big tent where all working people are welcome.” (RELATED: DNC Reverses Course, Will Now Take Donation Money From Employees Of Fossil Fuel Companies)

Perez’s explanation, however, appears insufficient, given that the earlier resolution only pertained to donations from corporate political action committees tied to fossil fuel industries — it never prohibited “working people” from personally giving donations to the DNC.

While undoing the resolution allows the possibility for national Democrats to rake in more cash, environmental and progressive activists are lashing out at the DNC.

Climate Truth, an organization that promotes environmental policies, has launched a petition drive urging Democrats to reinstate a ban on fossil fuel donations.

“DNC executives are keeping quiet about the Friday night vote — they know taking polluter money isn’t a good look for the Party — but resistance from DNC membership is growing and the press is beginning to take notice,” read a statement from Climate Truth’s petition page.

Members of the Sunrise Movement — another environmental organization — protested outside of the DNC’s headquarters on Wednesday for allowing the donations to continue.

“Tom Perez is chair of the Democratic National Committee because wealthy centrist liberals,” wrote Ryan Cooper in a scathing op-ed published Wednesday. “He’s serving his big donor masters loyally, and in the process failing his party, the United States of America, and humanity as a whole.” Cooper, a national correspondent for The Week, framed Perez as an incompetent leader.

While Perez and other leaders chalk up the ban reversal as a means to make energy workers feel welcome into the Party, cold hard cash might actually be the underlining factor. The Republican National Committee has continued to out-raise their Democratic counterpart, while the DNC has struggled to pay off millions in lingering debt.

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