Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) is a right-leaning environmental advocacy organization funded by and connected to left-wing environmentalist organizations.  The group was founded in 2013 to advocate that Republicans increase government energy regulations and consumption taxes to combat climate change. Though the group claims to support “conservative energy solutions,” it received $1 million in total startup funding from center-left groups, including the Advocacy Fund (the advocacy arm of the left-of-center Tides Foundation) and the Trust for Energy Innovation. 
CRES’s activities include lobbying, campaign spending, direct mail advertising, and public affairs campaigns to back legislation and Republican candidates aligning with the group’s environmental policy agenda.
James Dozier is the founder, executive director, and board president of CRES.  Dozier is a principal at the political consulting firm Civitas Public Affairs Group; in 2016, CRES paid Civitas $240,000 in “project management” services. 
On July 17, 2017, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was named as the organization’s senior advisor.  Ayotte, who has called the science on climate change “settled,” is a longstanding advocate for action to regulate the energy industry, including as an early Republican supporter of President Barack Obama’s controversial Clean Power Plan. 
CRES supports a range of Republican legislative proposals on energy and the climate, including establishing national carbon reporting.  The organization reported spending $409,000 on lobbying in 2016, using lobbyists from McDonald Hopkins and Crossroads Strategies. 
CRES was a supporter of U.S. participation in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement and lobbied against President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement. The group ran last-minute advertisements on cable news programs President Trump is believed to watch such as MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and met with White House aide George David Banks. 
The organization also has a record of spending heavily in political campaigns. In 2016, CRES endorsed 29 moderate Republican candidates for Congress, including Rep. Carlos Curbelo (FL), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Sen. Richard Burr (NC), Rep. Charlie Dent (NC), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (NC), Rep. Pat Meehan (PA), and Ryan Costello (PA).  It spent $2 million in support of candidates with direct mail, radio, digital and television advertising. Of the 29 endorsed, 26 won their races. 
The group also was challenged over its claims that it “has no connections, formally or informally, with any specific energy industry,” given that the board of the Trust for Energy Innovation includes Reuben Munger, owner of a venture capital fund directly invested in a number of alternative energy companies with direct interests in the type of policies backed by CRES. 
CRES founder James Dozier began his political career as a campaign staffer for former moderate Republican U.S. Representative Connie Morella (R-MD), and later served as an organizer for the right-leaning LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans.  Dozier has said that the need for Republicans to devise clean energy solutions is “a political reality,” and that “for a growing number of voters this issue isn’t a debate. It’s how we address it. That’s where the conversation is.” 
The group received early criticism by conservatives for having an allegedly left-leaning political agenda.  In July of 2013, The Huffington Post reported that CRES received $500,000 each from the left-leaning Advocacy Fund and the Trust for Energy Innovation, both of which are backers of liberal advocacy groups. 
The current executive director of CRES is Heather Reams, who has a background in public affairs and education policy. 
In 2013, CRES also hired the lobbying services of Jennifer LaTourette, wife of former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), head of the centrist Republican Main Street Partnership.  In defense of CRES’s conservative roots, Dozier issued a statement claiming that his group “has received funding from 800 donors and backing from more than 5,000 conservative activists.” 
In 2017, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte was named as the organization’s senior advisor. Ayotte previously received more than $500,000 from CRES during her failed 2016 re-election campaign. 
Ayotte has a long history of supporting environmentalist policies and climate regulations. In 2005, as Attorney General for the State of New Hampshire, Ayotte sued federal regulators over a change that made clean air emissions standards for power plants less strict and eliminated clean air reporting and monitoring requirements, forcing a change to the rule.  In 2015, she became the first Senate Republican to endorse then-President Barack Obama’s controversial Clean Power Plan, which increased regulations and taxes on carbon emissions. She also became one of five Republican senators to vote to pass a non-binding amendment stating that “climate change is real and human activity significantly contributes to climate change.” 
CRES’s 2016 Form 990 IRS filing is available here.