Russians tried to influence US energy markets, House Republicans say

Two senior Republicans on the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee asked Treasury Sec. Steven T. Mnuchin to investigate allegations that Russian state-sponsored entities funneled money to US environmental organizations opposed to fossil fuels in an effort to disrupt domestic energy markets.

Two senior Republicans on the US House Science, Space, and Technology Committee asked Treasury Sec. Steven T. Mnuchin to investigate allegations that Russian state-sponsored entities funneled money to US environmental organizations opposed to fossil fuels in an effort to disrupt domestic energy markets.

“If you connect the dots, it is clear that Russia is funding US environmental groups in an effort to suppress our domestic oil and gas industry, specifically hydraulic fracturing,” Committee Chairman LaMar Smith (Tex.) said on July 7 as he released a letter he and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Randy Weber (Tex.) sent to Mnuchin.

“They have established an elaborate scheme that funnels money through shell companies in Bermuda. This scheme may violate federal law and certainly distorts the US energy market,” Smith asserted.

Publicly available reports reveal that the Russian government and complicit parties funneled money from that country through Bermuda-based shell companies to environmental groups in the US with the aim of disrupting the US energy industry and influencing public opinion of the oil and gas industry, he and Weber said in their June 29 letter.

Such a scheme potentially violates federal statutes pertaining to agents of foreign governments or those lobbying on behalf of domestic and foreign interests, they said.

Contact Nick Snow at nicks@pennwell.com.

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