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'Absolute Failure': DNC Passes Perez Resolution Reversing Ban on Donations From Fossil Fuel PACs

Activists immediately denounced the measure, which "also recommits the party to an 'all of the above' energy stance."

Tom Perez

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez was elected to his current role at a meeting in February of 2017. (Photo: Edward Kimmel/Flickr/cc)

Just two months after the Democratic National Committee (DNC) was celebrated by environmentalists for banning donations from fossil fuel companies, it voted 30-2 on Friday to adopt a resolution from Chair Tom Perez that critics said effectively reverses the ban and represents "an absolute failure by the DNC."

The Huffington Post's Alexander Kaufman tweeted Friday:

As climate reporter Kate Aronoff outlined in a series of tweets, Perez's resolution (pdf) "is premised on the party's support for unions," but ultimately will enable fossil fuel executives to use their money to try to influence Democrats.

People for Bernie pointed to the four words of the resolution that caused anger and concern ahead of and following Friday's vote—language that allows employees of oil and gas companies to donate through corporate political action committees (PACs).

The unanimously approved original resolution—which requires the DNC to reject "corporate PAC contributions from the fossil fuel industry"—was spearheaded by Christine Pelosi, the daughter of Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and a member of the DNC's executive committee.

Christine Pelosi tried Friday to pressure the committee to remove the language in Perez's resolution which undermines the ban on corporate PAC donations, but her proposal was voted down 28-4:

While a DNC spokesperson claimed to Kaufman that the resolution is "not a reversal," adding that "any review of our current donations reflects" the party's "commitment" to no longer taking donations from the industry, reactions among activists and party supporters ranged from worried to infuriated.

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Jerald Lentini, deputy director of the Democratic fundraising group It Starts Today, pointed out in an interview with Kaufman that this resolution may only apply to Democratic campaigns, meaning the new measure may not fully annul the first resolution but would still "repudiate the spirit" of it.

Others were far more critical:

And, as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben noted, "the issue goes beyond the donations," because Perez's resolution "also recommits the party to an 'all of the above' energy stance, which was taken out of the platform after a lot of hard work in 2016."

In a statement, McKibben added that it is "strikingly odd to go back to the old formulation at precisely the moment that heatwaves and wildfires are waking ever more Americans to the danger of climate change," pointing to the recent extreme weather from California to the Arctic Circle that has climate scientists warning of "the new normal."

Responding to McKibben on Twitter, Bold Nebraska founder and Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Jane Fleming Kleeb vowed that "many of us" will fight the resolution at a DNC meeting later this month:

Highlighting climate scientists' concerns about the "all of the above" energy position, Aronoff added:

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