Non-profit

ClearPath Foundation

Website:

clearpath.org

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

46-3891359

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $783,835
Expenses: $12,231,863
Assets: $164,364,006

Formation:

2014

Type:

Right-leaning Environmental Funder

Founder, Main Funder:

Jay Faison

Executive Director:

Rich Powell

ClearPath Foundation (sometimes called the 2040 Foundation) is a right-leaning advocacy nonprofit created in 2014 by North Carolina entrepreneur Jay Faison, a conservative climate change activist. The group aims to encourage the adoption of global warming and anti-fossil fuel policies among Republicans and conservatives.

ClearPath Action is the group’s super PAC affiliate, focused on supporting sympathetic Republicans running for Congress. ClearPath Action Fund for Conservative Clean Energy is the group’s 501(c)(4) lobbying affiliate.

Background

In 2015, North Carolina businessman Jay Faison sold the majority of his stake in SnapAV, an audio-visual company he founded, for $175 million. He used that sum to fund his new global warming advocacy group: ClearPath. Of that sum, Faison directed $10 million into the ClearPath Action Fund for Conservative Clean Energy, a lobbying nonprofit. [1]

“I always felt a little alone out there as a Republican, and so I started ClearPath to create a dialogue around this in a way that hadn’t been done before and sort of be part of the solution,” Faison said in an interview, adding he’d like to see the party’s candidates debate the solutions to climate change, not the science. “We think that there are real Republican solutions to the problem.”

Faison has said that he wants to provide “private-sector answers” to climate change,[2] but has indicated he is not interested in arguing about the existence or causes of climate change.[3]

A ClearPath spokesman has claimed that the foundation is primarily a “clean energy, not a climate, organization.”[4] ClearPath advocates for an “all of the above” energy approach, which would include small nuclear reactors, hydropower, wind, solar, advanced storage technology to regulate the electrical grid, and “clean coal” through the implementation of carbon capture technology.[5] Faison has stated that conservatives should support expansion of these technologies independent of their views on climate change.[6]

Activities

ClearPath Foundation launched in the run-up to the 2016 election by presenting polling from Echelon Insights, a Republican-affiliated polling firm, purporting to show that “support for clean energy is strong both with the overall electorate and with the conservative Republicans that form a core constituency for many Republican elected officials.”[7]

The foundation has supported increased subsidies for environmentalist-aligned energy technologies through the Department of Energy. For example, the foundation advocated for an increase in federal support for clean energy research, and celebrated the passage of a House spending bill, approved on December 17, 2019, that increased Department of Energy research spending nearly 14 percent compared to 2018 levels and more than 50 percent compared to 2014 levels.[8]

The foundation backed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s appointment of Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) to an ad hoc climate change committee formed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. With ClearPath’s support, Graves—formerly an environmental official in Louisiana—was chosen over climate change skeptic Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI).[9]

Incorporation papers and the foundation’s Form 990 suggest that the ClearPath Foundation may change its name to “The 2040 Foundation.”[10]

Financial Overview

ClearPath Foundation received $165.6 million in revenues in 2014 (all of it from grants) in 2014, and has relied upon investment income in the years since then.[11] In 2014, ClearPath Foundation received its seed funding from the Foundation for the Carolinas (a donor-advised fund provider), which gave the group a single grant of $22,451,669, funds which almost certainly originated with Faison. [12]

In 2015, ClearPath reported investment income of $5.3 million and expenditures of $17 million. The group paid out $8.5 million in grants in 2015. [13]

In 2016, ClearPath reported total revenues of $8.8 million (almost all of it from investment income) and expenditures of $12.7 million. The group paid out $4.7 million in grants in 2016. [14]

In 2017, ClearPath reported total revenues of $784,000 (all of it from investment income) and expenditures of $12.2 million. The group paid out $4.8 million in grants in 2017. [15]

Lobbying

Summary

ClearPath Foundation retained two registered lobbying firms as of January 2020: Holland & Knight LLP, and Natural Resources Results LLC. [16] [17]

In 2017, ClearPath Foundation reported spending $30,000 in lobbying expenditures to support budget increases for “energy programs” at the U.S. Department of Energy in the FY2019 federal budget. [18]

In 2018, ClearPath Foundation reported spending $30,000 in lobbying expenditures to support budget increases for “energy programs” at the U.S. Department of Energy in the FY2019 federal budget. [19]

In 2019, ClearPath Foundation reported spending $40,000 in lobbying expenditures related to nuclear energy. [20]

Bills Lobbied

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, in 2019 the ClearPath Foundation lobbied on the following bills: [21]

  • Middle Class Savings Act (H.R. 589)
  • Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act (S. 97)
  • Premium Reduction Act of 2019 (S. 1868)
  • Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2017 (S. 1868)

Leadership

Jay Faison

For more information, see Jay Faison

ClearPath Foundation is led by North Carolina businessman Jay Faison. In 2015, he sold the majority of his stake in audio-visual equipment manufacturer Snap AV to found the environmentalist group ClearPath Foundation. [22]

Faison is a major Republican Party donor, and he has said that his organization is not interested in seeking support among Democrats. “I support a free enterprise system unshackled from bad regulation and big labor unions,” he wrote in Politico shortly after launching ClearPath, “but I also believe that my party needs a fresh approach” toward reversing climate change. [23]

Rich Powell

Rich Powell is executive director of ClearPath Foundation and its super PAC affiliate, ClearPath Action. Powell is a former employee of McKinsey & Company (2010-2014), where he worked in Energy and Sustainability Practices. Since 2019, he has been a member of the 2019 Advisory Committee for the Export-Import Bank of the United States. [24]

In 2017, Powell received total compensation of $546,798. [25] In 2016, he received total compensation of $355,597, a single-year increase of $191,201. [26]

References

  1. Darren Goode. “Republican pledges $175 million to push party on climate.” Politico. June 8, 2015. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/republican-climate-change-jay-faison-118755 ^
  2. Downey, John. “ClearPath founder Jay Faison says political polarization blocking energy solutions.” Charlotte Business Journal. February 19, 2016. Accessed December 19, 2019. https://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/energy/2016/02/clearpath-founder-jay-faison-says-political.html. ^
  3. Goode, Darren. “Republican pledges $175 million to push party on climate.” Politico. June 8, 2015. Accessed December 19, 2019. https://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/republican-climate-change-jay-faison-118755. ^
  4. Leber, Rebecca. “What’s the Real Deal With This GOP Megadonor Who’s Claimed He Wants Climate Action?” November 5, 2018. Accessed December 19, 2019. https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/11/jay-faison-whats-the-real-deal-with-this-gop-megadonor-whos-claimed-he-wants-climate-action/. ^
  5. “6 Conservative Clean Energy Pillars.” ClearPath Foundation. Accessed December 19, 2019. https://clearpath.org/policy/. ^
  6. Trauzzi, Monica. “GOP clean energy group’s Faison says new agenda needed to modernize party.” E&E News. September 22, 2016. https://www.eenews.net/tv/videos/2164/transcript. ^
  7. “New National Poll Shows Strong Republican Support for Clean Energy Policies.” PR Newswire. September 29, 2015. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-national-poll-shows-strong-republican-support-for-clean-energy-policies-300150875.html. ^
  8. Harder, Amy. “Despite Trump, Congress boosts clean energy funding.” Axios. December 18, 2019. Accessed December 21, 2019. https://www.axios.com/trump-congress-clean-energy-funding-ad1973d7-984d-4510-9a44-f55f3c2443c7.html. ^
  9. Siegel, Josh. “The moderate Republican on Pelosi’s climate committee.” Washington Examiner. March 8, 2019. Accessed December 21, 2019. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/the-moderate-republican-on-pelosis-climate-committee. ^
  10. Johnson, Chloe. “Charleston’s biggest Dutch Dialogues funder is a GOP climate advocate.” Charleston Post-Courier. September 29, 2019. Accessed December 20, 2019. https://www.postandcourier.com/news/charleston-s-biggest-dutch-dialogues-funder-is-a-gop-climate/article_5263bfee-c90a-11e9-be3d-478b04fbaa10.html. ^
  11. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2014. Part I. Line 8. ^
  12. Data provided by FoundationSearch. ClearPath Foundation. Accessed January 9, 2020. www.FoundationSearch.org. ^
  13. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2015. Part I. Lines 10, 13, 18. ^
  14. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2016. Part I. Lines 12, 13, 18. ^
  15. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2017. Part I. Lines 12, 13, 18. ^
  16. “U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act: Lobbying Registration: Holland & Knight LLP.” Filed August 1, 2019. Accessed January 9, 2020. http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2019/RR/301062054.xml ^
  17. “U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act: Lobbying Registration: Natural Resources Results LLC.” Filed September 27, 2017. Accessed January 9, 2020. http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2017/RR/300900990.xml ^
  18. “U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act: Lobbying Report, 2017 Q.4.” Accessed January 9, 2020. http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2017/Q4/300927480.xml ^
  19. “U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act: Lobbying Report, 2018 Q.1.” Accessed January 9, 2020. http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2018/Q1/300942236.xml ^
  20. “U.S. Senate Lobbying Disclosure Act: Lobbying Report, 2019 Q.3.” Accessed January 9, 2020. http://disclosures.house.gov/ld/ldxmlrelease/2019/Q3/301063590.xml ^
  21. “ClearPath Foundation: Bills Lobbied, 2019.” Center for Responsive Politics. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/lobby.php?id=D000068060 ^
  22. Lauer, Daniel, and Hayden Ludwig. “The Myth Of The Conservative Carbon Tax: A Who’s Who Of The Ecoright.”  October 12, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2020. Capital Research Center. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-myth-of-the-conservative-carbon-tax-part-4/. ^
  23. Lauer, Daniel, and Hayden Ludwig. “The Myth Of The Conservative Carbon Tax: A Who’s Who Of The Ecoright.”  October 12, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2020. Capital Research Center. https://capitalresearch.org/article/the-myth-of-the-conservative-carbon-tax-part-4/. ^
  24. “Rich Powell: Executive Director.” ClearPath. Accessed January 9, 2020. https://clearpath.org/about-us/rich-powell/ ^
  25. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2017. Part VII (Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, etc.). ^
  26. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). ClearPath Foundation. 2016. Part VII (Compensation of Officers, Directors, Trustees, etc.). ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Rich Powell
    Executive Director
  2. Jay Faison
    Founder, Main Funder
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: August 1, 2014

  • 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
    2017 Dec Form 990 $783,835 $12,231,863 $164,364,006 $71,890 Y $0 $0 $920,278 $1,970,288 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $8,818,559 $12,706,630 $158,459,709 $510,636 Y $0 $0 $3,049,913 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $5,284,086 $17,277,505 $161,923,207 $21,077 Y $0 $0 $-1,230,296 $336,304 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $165,599,943 $241,776 $165,885,794 $527,627 N $165,599,943 $0 $0 $55,000 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $0 $0 $1 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    ClearPath Foundation

    611 Maryland Ave NE
    Washington, DC 20002