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Cruz, Comer Insist DOJ Investigate Radical Environmental Organizations Accepting Money While Skirting FARA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ranking Member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and U.S. Representative James Comer (R-Ky.), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, today sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland at the Department of Justice requesting an investigation into why radical environmental organizations have been able to accept foreign money without registering under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The letter highlights examples of these organizations’ advocacy, ties to China, and direct communications with White House officials that raise concerns that these groups are acting as unregistered agents of corrupt and anti-American regimes.

In the letter, Sen. Cruz and Rep. Comer wrote, “Earlier this year, as Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation and Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, we launched an investigation into environmental nonprofits’ collusion with the Biden administration to drive radical environmental policy that negatively impacts the American people and the country’s economy.  The extensive ties many of these organizations have to foreign governments and U.S. adversaries is publicly documented  and raises concerns that these groups are attempting to skirt compliance with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).  We are writing to request that the Department of Justice (DOJ) clarify the legal status of these organizations.

“Indeed, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has substantial ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Both NRDC China Program Directors are former CCP officials.  On NRDC’s Chinese-language site (which provides information different from the English-language site), NRDC explains it “has been carrying out environmental protection work in China since the 1990s” and “actively cooperates and communicates” with several Chinese government agencies.  Moreover, NRDC acts as a mouthpiece for Chinese propaganda, signaling that it either takes direction from the CCP or that it is willing to self-censor to maintain a positive relationship with the Communist regime. While pushing outrageous claims in the United States—for example, that gas stoves emit pollution even when not in use —the organization promotes China as a world leader in “clean power development,”  never raising that the Communist country is responsible for emitting over one-fourth of global carbon dioxide and a third of the world’s greenhouse gases. 

“Despite these obvious ties to China, NRDC has successfully established ties with the U.S. government and key government officials. For example, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry—who has claimed “working together” on climate issues is more important than demanding justice for the enslaved Uyghur population  or accountability for China’s theft of American intellectual property  or overt spying behavior —has worked hand-in-glove with NRDC and other radical environmental groups since SPEC’s inception.  In emails provided to the House Oversight and Accountability Committee between the SPEC and climate groups, NRDC appears to lead on multiple initiatives, including working to “accelerat[e] ambition” and promote “clean tech exports.”

The letter concludes by requesting documents and communications pertinent to the investigation.

Read the full letter here.