Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., has taken millions in donations from oil, gas and coal industry groups over the years, but he also brings in donations from green energy organizations and companies, according to his Federal Election Commission filings.
Manchin brought in over $1.1 million in donations from political action committees and companies between January 2021 and June 2022, a small part of his total haul of over $7 million during that time period. Most of the donations from corporate PACs and other organizations come from the fossil fuel and pharmaceutical industries, but Manchin has also received thousands of dollars in donations from green and renewable energy groups.
Groups like PACs associated with West Virginia-based solar and wind energy company Clearway Energy Group, Apex Clean Energy, based in Charlottesville, Virginia, EDF Renewables, and EDP Renewables, have contributed to Manchin’s campaign in the past year and a half.
Manchin is not up for re-election until 2024, and he has not announced whether he plans to seek another term in the Senate. Fox News Digital reached out to Manchin’s office, but it did not provide a statement.
Manchin famously receives numerous donations from fossil fuel companies and lobbyists, with campaign finance watcher OpenSecrets declaring him the number one recipient of donations from coal, oil and gas, mining, tobacco, and auto industries. Donations from individuals connected to energy companies add more weight to Manchin’s support from fossil fuel companies, and Manchin still profits from the coal company he founded before his time in politics.
After Manchin killed the Build Back Better agenda and torpedoed the huge climate initiatives attached to it, climate activists and progressive politicians lambasted him as a traitor to the Democratic Party.
But that tune changed after Manchin announced an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on the Inflation Reduction Act, which includes hundreds of billions of spending on climate programs.
Some climate activists have criticized a chimeric character of the massive climate spending in the Inflation Reduction Act because the proposal advances several fossil fuel projects, streamlining approvals for extraction permits and pipelines, while contributing billions to climate grant and tax credit programs.
“This is a climate suicide pact,” the government affairs director for the Center for Biological Diversity, Brett Hartl, said in a statement last week. “It’s self-defeating to handcuff renewable energy development to massive new oil and gas extraction. The new leasing required in this bill will fan the flames of the climate disasters torching our country, and it’s a slap in the face to the communities fighting to protect themselves from filthy fossil fuels.”
Yet besides Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., most climate-conscious liberal members of Congress are positive about the bill. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, who describes himself as a climate hawk, praised the bill last week as “the biggest climate action in human history.”
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., told Politico this week that he advised Manchin that progressive politicians would support a bill that included certain fossil fuel allowances if it had “massive climate spending.”
“If you can get the massive climate portion in, it will be 10-to-1 in terms of the positive impact, and I think you will be seen as helping make history as having ushered in, from the state of West Virginia, the most aggressive climate legislation in the history of the world,” Khanna said he told Manchin in a conversation earlier this year.
The Inflation Reduction Act includes $433 billion in new spending on green energy programs and expanded Affordable Care Act benefits. The new spending would be paid for through raising $739 billion in revenue through a corporate tax increase and stricter IRS enforcement. The balance of the additional revenue would offset the deficit, leading Democrats to insist that the bill will reduce inflation in the future.
Since the Inflation Reduction Act was announced, Republicans have criticized Manchin for caving to President Biden’s political agenda after holding the line against the Build Back Better proposals. And some suggest that he would face a challenging path to re-election if he runs again.
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said Manchin’s seat would be a target of the GOP in 2024, Politico reported Wednesday.
Reporting from Fox News.