Non-profit

Conservatives for Clean Energy

Website:

www.cleanenergyconservatives.com

Location:

RALEIGH, NC

Tax ID:

47-1213186

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $643,000
Expenses: $713,667
Assets: $181,009

Formation:

2014

Type:

Environmental Advocacy Nonprofit

Conservatives For Clean Energy is a Raleigh, North Carolina based 501(c)(3) environmental group that works to increase solar subsidies. The organization works primarily in the southeastern states. Despite being billed as a conservative organization, it has taken money from left-wing groups and it has sent mixed messages on free markets. [1]

It does its work by lobbying legislators, mostly Republicans, and by conducting public opinion polls which claim to show public support for solar and wind energy. The organization was founded by two Republican political consultants in North Carolina.

Overview

Conservatives for Clean Energy is an organization that works to advance support for solar, wind, energy efficiency, smart grids, and similar programs among conservatives in the southeastern U.S. It claims to be a market-oriented organization, but the organization has supported subsidies and special tax credits for the solar industry. [2]

Conservatives for Clean Energy began in June 2014 in North Carolina. It expanded to Virginia in 2017. Georgia and South Carolina chapters began in early 2019. The organization plans to expand to other southeastern states. [3]

Conservatives for Clean Energy was founded by two Republican political consultants, Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart. Shumaker has been a political consultant for more than four decades. Among his accomplishments are electing the first Republican woman statewide and electing the first Republican chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court in over 100 years. One of Stewart’s clients is former U.S. House Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry. [4]

Leadership

Each state organization has its own leadership. Conservatives for Clean Energy North Carolina is led by Mark Fleming. Fleming the president and CEO of the organization. Fleming is a former district director for Rep. McHenry and a former executive director of the Wake Forest Area Chamber of Commerce. [5]

Conservatives for Clean Energy Georgia is led by executive director Theresa Garcia Robertson. Robertson served on former U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s staff and has managed numerous campaigns in Georgia. The organization conducts its polling through Glenn Bolger and his company, Public Opinion Strategies. [6]

Conservatives For Clean Energy South Carolina is led by executive director Giff Carpenter. He is a former regional field director for the South Carolina Republican Party. He has also worked on numerous campaigns including those of former Governor Nikki Haley, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott. Another political consultant, Luke Byars, serves as an adviser to the organization. [7]

Conservatives for Clean Energy Virginia is led by executive director Christopher West. West is a former director of policy and communications for the speaker of the Virginia House. Before that, he served on the staff of former U.S. Rep. Robert Hurt. Andrew Lamar serves as an adviser. Lamer has served as a policy adviser to the governor of Virginia and is a political consultant. [8]

The organization has a board of directors. Among those who serve on the board are Wendy Rouse Jackson, Valerie Pencook, Tommy Luckadoo, Matt Smith, and Stew Miller. Miller is the co-owner and president of YesSolar solutions, which installs solar power systems for both residential and commercial customers. [9]

Influence Campaigns

Conservatives for Clean Energy works to promote its views to lawmakers on the state level. It usually begins by releasing a poll that shows public support for clean energy. For example in 2019, a poll by the organization found that North Carolina 85% of all voters and 76% of Republicans were more likely to support candidates who support wind and solar. It also found that 77% of voters believe in expanding solar and wind energy in North Carolina. The poll however did not ask about tradeoffs such as higher energy costs and possibly higher taxes to support wind and solar subsidies. The poll was conducted by Strategic Partners Solutions which is owned by Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart. [10]

The poll allows the organization to tout voter support for wind and solar. “Technology is changing our society, and voter attitudes reflect that,” said Mark Fleming “Renewable energy, competition and consumer choice are clear priorities for North Carolina residents. This survey shows that these same voters want elected officials to enact pro-renewable, pro-competition policies.” [11]

The existence of groups like Conservatives for Clean Energy has inspired lawmakers in places like North Carolina to become supporters of solar subsidies. For example, in 2015 North Carolina State Rep. John Szoka (R-Fayetteville) became a supporter of a series of bills that would maintain high state tax credits for solar energy systems and allow third party sales of electricity from on-site renewable energy facilities. Szoka continues to maintain that he believes in free markets, but he supports the legislation to support subsidies for solar power. [12]

Subsidies Policy

Conservatives for Clean Energy claims it supports a free market in energy, but Mark Fleming has said there is no free market in energy and supports subsidies for wind and solar on the grounds that the government has supported the conventional fuel industry. [13]

Other representatives for the organization have expressed support for subsidizing preferred energy sources. “There are some conservatives who just flat believe the government shouldn’t be involved in all kinds of industries, and all kinds of decisions,” said Dee Stewart while presenting polling data on clean energy in 2017. “There are other conservatives, the majority, I believe, who believe that if something is a good investment the government ought to invest in it, and government ought to be an encourager of good ideas, and of innovation, and of small business owners, and of lower costs in the future.” [14]

Funding

Despite presenting itself as a conservative organization, Conservatives for Clean Energy has been funded by left-wing environmentalist groups. In 2014, it received $350,000 from the Energy Foundation. In September 2015, it received another $359,467 from that organization. The Energy Foundation is seen as a “pass through” organization for other left-wing groups such as the Tides Foundation, Sea Change Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. [15]

In 2015, the organization received a $50,000 donation from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. At the same time, the fund’s chair Valerie Rockefeller Wayne said it had a moral obligation to fight against the use of fossil fuels. [16]

Fleming defended the donations saying his organization was “happy to work with, and get support from, any organization that sees the economic and job creation benefits of clean energy.” [17]

In 2014, it received $1.2 million from the Foundation for the Carolinas, [18] a donor-advised fund provider that has taken money from controversial population-control environmentalist Fred Stanback, Jr. [19]

Financials

According to its 2016 tax returns, Conservatives for Clean Energy raised $658,243 and spent $512,076. It has $251,676 in assets.

References

  1. Mundahl, Erin. 2017. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Backed By Liberal Interest Groups”. Insidesources. https://www.insidesources.com/energy-foundation-funds-conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  2. “Our History”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/about/our-history/. ^
  3. “Our History”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/about/our-history/. ^
  4. “North Carolina”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/states/north-carolina/. ^
  5. Myrick, Susan, and Frances De Luca. 2015. “SPECIAL REPORT: ‘Conservatives’ Pushing Big Solar Funded By The Left”. Civitas Institute. https://www.nccivitas.org/2015/special-report-conservatives-pushing-big-solar-funded-by-the-left/. ^
  6. “CCE Georgia Announces First Executive Director”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/news/cce-georgia-announces-first-executive-director/. ^
  7. “South Carolina”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/states/south-carolina/. ^
  8. “Virginia”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/states/virginia/. ^
  9. “Board Members”. 2019. Conservatives For Clean Energy. Accessed July 21. https://www.cleanenergyconservatives.com/about/board-members/. ^
  10.    Misbrener, Kelsey. 2019. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Poll Finds Strong Bipartisan Support For Renewables In North Carolina”. Solar Power World. https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/04/north-carolina-conservatives-clean-energy-solar-support/ ^
  11. Misbrener, Kelsey. 2019. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Poll Finds Strong Bipartisan Support For Renewables In North Carolina”. Solar Power World. https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2019/04/north-carolina-conservatives-clean-energy-solar-support/. ^
  12. Myrick, Susan, and Frances De Luca. 2015. “SPECIAL REPORT: ‘Conservatives’ Pushing Big Solar Funded By The Left”. Civitas Institute. https://www.nccivitas.org/2015/special-report-conservatives-pushing-big-solar-funded-by-the-left/. ^
  13. Mundahl, Erin. 2017. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Backed By Liberal Interest Groups”. Insidesources. https://www.insidesources.com/energy-foundation-funds-conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  14. Way, Dan. 2017. “Government Intervention In Renewables Market A ‘Slam Dunk,’ GOP Consultants Say”. Carolina Journal. https://www.carolinajournal.com/news-article/government-intervention-in-renewables-market-a-slam-dunk-gop-consultants-say/. ^
  15. Mundahl, Erin. 2017. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Backed By Liberal Interest Groups”. Insidesources. https://www.insidesources.com/energy-foundation-funds-conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  16. Mundahl, Erin. 2017. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Backed By Liberal Interest Groups”. Insidesources. https://www.insidesources.com/energy-foundation-funds-conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  17. Mundahl, Erin. 2017. “Conservatives For Clean Energy Backed By Liberal Interest Groups”. Insidesources. https://www.insidesources.com/energy-foundation-funds-conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  18. “Conservatives For Clean Energy”. 2019. Mapping The Left. Accessed July 21. https://www.mappingtheleft.com/group/conservatives-for-clean-energy/. ^
  19. Braun, Ken. “Anti-Humanist Environmentalism: Stanback’s Piggy-bank.” Capital Research Center. July 17, 2019. Accessed July 25, 2019. https://capitalresearch.org/article/anti-humanist-environmentalism-stanbacks-piggy-bank/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Stew Miller
    Officer/Board Member
  2. Tommy Luckadoo
    Officer/Board Member
  3. Luke Byars
    Employee
  4. Dee Stewart
    Employee
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 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 $643,000 $713,667 $181,009 $0 N $643,000 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $658,243 $512,076 $251,676 $0 N $658,243 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $394,800 $451,787 $105,509 $0 N $394,800 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $350,000 $187,504 $162,496 $0 N $350,000 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Conservatives for Clean Energy

    514 DANIELS ST SUITE 239
    RALEIGH, NC 27605-1317