Non-profit

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES)

Website:

www.citizensfor.com

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

46-0558330

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $2,620,988
Expenses: $2,770,507
Assets: $2,347,074

Type:

Carbon Tax Advocacy Group

Executive Director:

James Dozier

Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) is a right-leaning environmental advocacy organization funded by and connected to left-wing environmentalist organizations. [1] 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. [2]

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. [3] Dozier is a principal at the political consulting firm Civitas Public Affairs Group; in 2016, CRES paid Civitas $240,000 in “project management” services. [4]

On July 17, 2017, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) was named as the organization’s senior advisor. [5] Ayotte, who has called the science on climate change “settled,”[6] 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. [7]

Activities

CRES supports a range of Republican legislative proposals on energy and the climate, including establishing national carbon reporting. [8][9] The organization reported spending $409,000 on lobbying in 2016, using lobbyists from McDonald Hopkins and Crossroads Strategies. [10]

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. [11]

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). [12] It spent $2 million in support of candidates with direct mail, radio, digital and television advertising. Of the 29 endorsed, 26 won their races. [13]

Controversy

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. [14]

Leadership

James Dozier

CRES founder James Dozier began his political career as a campaign staffer for former moderate Republican U.S. Representative Connie Morella (R-MD),[15] and later served as an organizer for the right-leaning LGBT group Log Cabin Republicans. [16] 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.” [17]

The group received early criticism by conservatives for having an allegedly left-leaning political agenda. [18] 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. [19]

Heather Reams

The current executive director of CRES is Heather Reams, who has a background in public affairs and education policy. [20]

Jennifer LaTourette

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. [21] 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.” [22]

Kelly Ayotte

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. [23]

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. [24] 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.” [25]

Documents

CRES’s 2016 Form 990 IRS filing is available here.

References

  1. Blumenthal, Paul. “Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment.” The Huffington Post. January 29, 2015. Accessed August 13, 2018. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/29/gop-dark-money_n_6566244.html.
  2. Hayden Ludwig. “The Myth of the Conservative Carbon Tax: A Who’s Who of the EcoRight.” Capital Research Center. October 12, 2018. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-myth-of-the-conservative-carbon-tax-part-4/
  3. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. 2016. Schedule A, Part VII, Section A.
  4. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. 2016. Schedule A, Part VII, Section B (Independent Contractors).
  5. Glueck, Katie. “Kelly Ayotte’s back — as an environmental advocate.” McClatchy DC. July 17, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article161457993.html
  6. Casey, Michael. “Ayotte: Congress should find common ground on clean energy.” Associated Press. August 24, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://apnews.com/5324b32fa017426497848f08bb71cf1e
  7. Sheppard, Kate (October 27, 2015). “Meet the Republican Senator Who Wants to Fight Global Warming”. Mother Jones. Retrieved 18 February 2016.
  8. Hernick, Charles and Benjamin Backer. “You can’t manage what you don’t measure, time for nationwide carbon reporting.” The Hill. December 28, 2018. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/423101-you-cant-manage-what-you-dont-measure-time-for-nationwide-carbon
  9. “Legislative Opportunities for Clean Energy.” Citizens For Responsible Energy Solutions. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.citizensfor.com/legislative-opportunities-for-clean-energy/
  10. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. 2016.
  11. Easly, Jonathan, David Henry and Jordan Fabian. “How Trump left the Paris climate deal.” The Hill. June 1, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/336015-how-trump-left-the-paris-climate-deal
  12. Glueck, Katie. “Kelly Ayotte’s back — as an environmental advocate.” McClatchy DC. July 17, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article161457993.html
  13. DiStaso, John. “Updated: Ayotte named senior adviser to right-of-center energy-focused political group.” WMUR New Hampshire. Jul 17, 2017. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.wmur.com/article/ayotte-named-senior-adviser-to-right-of-center-energy-focused-political-group/10315108
  14. Blumenthal, Paul. “Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment.” The Huffington Post. January 29, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/29/gop-dark-money_n_6566244.html.
  15. “James C. Dozier Biography.” Civitas Public Affairs. Accessed April 12, 2019. http://civitaspublicaffairs.com/team/james-c-dozier/
  16. “James Dozier Profile.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jamesdozier/
  17. Dozier, James. “GOP and Energy: It’s Time for the Tail to Stop Wagging the Dog | Commentary.” Roll Call. July 17, 2013. April 12, 2019. http://www.rollcall.com/news/gop_and_energy_its_time_for_the_tail_to_stop_wagging_the_dog_commentary-226429-1.html
  18. Horowitz, Daniel. “Lamar Alexander: The Consummate Statist.” RedState. July 8, 2013. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.redstate.com/dhorowitz3/2013/07/08/lamar-alexander-the-consummate-statist/
  19. Blumenthal, Paul. “Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment.” The Huffington Post. January 29, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2019.
  20. “Heather Reams Profile.” LinkedIn. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherreams/
  21. Lobbying Registration Disclosure. McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies LLC. https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=D7B94B72-1D7B-4666-B6CB-011AA6E538A8&filingTypeID=1
  22. Blumenthal, Paul. “Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment.” The Huffington Post. January 29, 2015. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/29/gop-dark-money_n_6566244.html.
  23. Kroh, Kiley. ‘Throwing Green Money After Bad.” October 27, 2016. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://thinkprogress.org/throwing-green-money-after-bad-5a1e55ef2eb9/
  24. “New York v. EPA: State Response to a Federal Regulatory Rollback.” Ecology Law Quarterly. 33.
  25. Timothy Cama (October 26, 2015). “Vulnerable GOP senator backs Obama’s climate rule.” The Hill. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/258058-vulnerable-gop-senator-backs-obamas-climate-rule

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Kelly Ayotte
    Officer/Board Member
  2. Louie Kerbici
    Officer/Board Member
  3. Jason Kauppi
    Officer/Board Member
  4. Liz Field
    Officer/Board Member
  5. James Dozier
    Founder and Board President; Former Executive Director (2013-2019)
  6. Heather Reams
    Executive Director (January 2019 - Present)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2016

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Jun Form 990 $2,620,988 $2,770,507 $2,347,074 $25,542 N $2,620,988 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES)

    601 13TH ST NW STE 730N
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-3805