by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Fundraising group Clean Energy for Biden raked in millions from industry professionals by promising unprecedented growth in “climate tech” should Democrats win the White House. Just months into President Joe Biden’s tenure, its members are already seeing lucrative returns on their investments.
A team billing itself as “top clean energy business and policy leaders” launched the group in March 2020, according to its website. Members solicited donations from the industry’s elite, arguing that then-candidate Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal, which the group said would grow green energy “faster than ever before.”
The strategy paid off. Clean Energy for Biden raised at least $3.2 million to elect the Democrat. Following Biden’s victory in November, members of the group became the Biden administration’s “bridge to the private sector,” according to CNBC.
Since then, the president has repeatedly boosted companies with direct financial ties to the group’s leadership—a reflection of Clean Energy for Biden’s role as a mechanism for well-connected green tech investors to twist arms at the White House in search of a profit.
Clean Energy for Biden cofounder Audrey Lee, for example, is a board member at ArcLight Clean Transition, SEC documents show. The company announced a merger with Proterra in January that will see the electric vehicle manufacturer go public this year. Fellow ArcLight board member Brian Goncher cohosted a Clean Energy for Biden fundraiser in August—Proterra cofounder and then-executive director Ryan Popple was a featured guest at the event.
Shortly after becoming president, Biden virtually toured Proterra’s South Carolina plant before hosting company CEO Jack Allen at his State Department’s Leaders Summit on Climate. The move sparked a barrage of ethics concerns from federal lawmakers given that Biden’s energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, holds up to $5 million in Proterra stock. Biden’s infrastructure package includes a $45 billion government investment in “clean, zero-emissions buses” such as those produced by the company.