Coal Industry Front Group Sponsoring CNN Democrats Debate Tonight

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A coal industry front group called the “Americans for Balanced Energy Choices” (ABEC), is one of the lead sponsors for tonight’s CNN Democratic presidential debate.

ThinkProgress wonders whether candidates will be grilled on where they stand on the issue of “clean coal” electrical generation – which by all accounts remains the dirtiest form of energy production in the United States.

At least ABEC is honest about who funds them, their website states that, “primary funding for ABEC’s outreach efforts come from America’s coal-based electricity providers.” And a list of their supporters can be found on their site here.

But any praise for their attempts at disclosure ends there.

Check out the advertisements currently running on their site, set to “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang. Nowhere is there mention that these ads are bought and paid for, in large part, by a coalition of the largest coal-fired electricity producers in the United States.

What if Peabody Coal had launched this campaign? No doubt there would not be the luster and the appearance of a citizen’s driven coalition that the fine folks at ABEC provide for their “supporters.”

Back to the presidential campaign.

Just for fun, here’s a breakdown of the amounts of money so far received by the top 3 Democrat candidates from the energy and resource sector, according to Open Secrets:

Hilary Clinton – $574,658

Barack Obama – $489,909

John Edwards – $62,306

And just for fun, here’s a breakdown of the amounts of money so far received by the top 3 Republican candidates from the energy and resource sector, according to Open Secrets:

Rudy Giuliani – $819,508

Mitt Romney – $635,133

Fred Thompson – $161,704

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Kevin is a contributor and strategic adviser to DeSmogBlog.

He runs the digital marketing agency Spake Media House. Named a “Green Hero” by Rolling Stone Magazine and one of the “Top 50 Tweeters” on climate change and environment issues, Kevin has appeared in major news media outlets around the world for his work on digital campaigning.

Kevin has been involved in the public policy arena in both the United States and Canada for more than a decade. For five years he was the managing editor of DeSmogBlog.com. In this role, Kevin’s research into the “climate denial industry” and the right-wing think tank networks was featured in news media articles around the world. He is most well known for his ground-breaking research into David and Charles Koch’s massive financial investments in the Republican and tea party networks.

Kevin is the first person to be designated a “Certified Expert” on the political and community organizing platform NationBuilder.

Prior to DeSmogBlog, Kevin worked in various political and government roles. He was Senior Advisor to the Minister of State for Multiculturalism and a Special Assistant to the Minister of State for Asia Pacific, Foreign Affairs for the Government of Canada. Kevin also worked in various roles in the British Columbia provincial government in the Office of the Premier and the Ministry of Health.

In 2008 Kevin co-founded a groundbreaking new online election tool called Vote for Environment which was later nominated for a World Summit Award in recognition of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Kevin moved to Washington, DC in 2010 where he worked for two years as the Director of Online Strategy for Greenpeace USA and has since returned to his hometown of Vancouver, Canada.

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