Texas reps: Rus­sians fund anti-frack­ing cam­paign,

Con­gress­men al­lege money was fun­neled to en­vi­ron­men­tal groups.

Austin American-Statesman - - FRONT PAGE - By Kirby Wil­son Texas Tri­bune Frack­ing

On June 29, U.S. Reps. La­mar Smith and Randy Weber wrote a let­ter to the U.S. Depart­ment of the Trea­sury al­leg­ing a mas­sive Rus­sian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign aimed at shap­ing pub­lic opin­ion.

But not the one you are think­ing of.

The tar­get of the Texas Repub­li­cans’ ire was not Rus­sian elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence but what Smith and Weber al­lege was a com­plex fund­ing op­er­a­tion in which Rus­sian en­ergy in­ter­ests fun­neled money through a Ber­muda-based cor­po­ra­tion to Amer­i­can anti-frack­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal groups with the hope of hurt­ing the Amer­i­can fos­sil fuel in­dus­try.

The Texas Tri­bune could not ver­ify or re­fute Smith and Weber’s claims, which drew wide cov­er­age from na­tional con­ser­va­tive out­lets — and hardly caused a stir among larger main­stream pub­li­ca­tions.

Crit­ics of the let­ter claim it is a thinly veiled at­tempt to dis­tract from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s Rus­sia-re­lated po­lit­i­cal woes. Its de­fend­ers say that if en­vi­ron­men­tal groups are get­ting money from shady sources, they should to be in­ves­ti­gated. The compa-

U.S. Rep. La­mar Smith, R-San An­to­nio, has long de­fended en­ergy in­ter­ests.

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