Just a week after Granite Staters learned U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan received a $2,900 donation from the lead lobbyist for Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline comes word U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas also received a check from the same man.
The difference? Pappas signed a pledge not to take it.
“A major Democratic donor and Nord Stream 2 lobbyist has made maximum campaign contributions this year to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and vulnerable Senate Democrats, campaign finance records show,” according to Axios.
The donor is Vincent Roberti of Roberti Global. Politico reports his firm earned more than $9 million in lobbying revenues from Nord Stream 2 since 2017.
Among his donations: $2,900 — the maximum primary contribution — to Hassan this cycle; and $2,500 to Pappas for his 2020 re-election campaign.
The latter is problematic because Pappas has signed the No Fossil Fuel Money pledge organized by Oil Change U.S., a political 501(c)4 organization associated with the 350 environmental group, as well as the Sunrise Movement, Evergreen Action, Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Working Families Party, Greenpeace USA, Indivisible, and People’s Action.
Part of the pledge involves not taking more than $200 in donations from any individual associated with the oil and gas industry, including lobbyists.
“The No Fossil Fuel Money pledge includes rejecting contributions from the federal and state-registered lobbyists of fossil fuel companies. This includes ‘in-house’ registered lobbyists who work directly for oil, gas, and coal companies, and outside registered lobbyists registered to lobby for one or more fossil fuel industry clients while employed by external lobbying firms,” the No Fossil Fuel Money FAQ page states.
Representatives for Oil Change U.S. did not respond to a request for comment. However, according to the pledge website, the group should at least be investigating Pappas’ Roberti donation. If Pappas does not return the money he can be removed from the list of politicians who took the pledge.
“If a violation has occurred, the coalition will notify the politician and give them one week to return the contribution(s) in question, as noted above. If the politician returns the contribution, they will remain on the pledge. If not, they will be removed from the list of pledge signers” the website states.
Pappas is still listed as a signer on the pledge website. His office did not respond to a request for comment. It also declined to say whether Pappas would return the contribution.
Pappas’ fellow liberals, like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) have used the no-fossil-fuel-money pledge as a campaign talking point and fundraiser. According to the pledge website, politicians are encouraged to raise money off the fact they signed the pledge.
“Many politicians have used the pledge-signing moment as an opportunity to highlight their commitment, by publicly sharing a photo of signing the pledge, releasing a short campaign video explaining their reasoning, or even sending out a fundraising appeal based on the pledge,” the website states.
“Congressman Pappas needs to immediately return this contribution and explain to New Hampshire voters his support for Biden administration policies that have made Americans and the world less safe,” said Gail Huff Brown, one of the Republicans running for a chance to challenge the incumbent Democrat this November. “It’s time for Chris Pappas to go,” Brown said.
It also raises new questions about Pappas’ claims to be a climate advocate. After years of calling climate change is “an existential threat” and voting to raise taxes on oil and gas companies, Pappas now says he supports increased fossil fuel production and an “all of the above” — oil, gas, and nuclear — energy policy.
Political observers say Pappas’ reversal is a result of the rising cost of gasoline and home heating oil, which are adding to the inflation problem that has emerged as the top issue for American voters.
Republican critics like Karoline Leavitt, who’s also running in the GOP primary, say it’s a sign Pappas can’t be trusted.
“Chris Pappas has broken nearly every promise he has made to the people of New Hampshire – whether it’s being an independent bipartisan voice yet voting with AOC 90 percent of the time, promising our law enforcement officers that he would protect qualified immunity but voting to strip it, or pledging to our business owners to never vote for a $15 federal minimum wage but doing it anyway,” Leavitt said.