A green nonprofit that is indirectly funded by a foreign billionaire is pressuring broadcasters to drop advertisements that criticize the Biden administration’s massive electric vehicle (EV) agenda.

Climate Power wrote to numerous broadcasters this week demanding that they stop airing American Fuel and Petrochemicals Manufacturers (AFPM)-funded advertisements in swing state markets that rail against President Joe Biden’s plans to impose widespread EV adoption in the coming years. The charitable organization affiliated with Hansjorg Wyss, a Swiss health care mogul and billionaire philanthropist, donates millions of dollars to the Fund for a Better Future, which was the fiscal sponsor for Climate Power until 2023, a spokesperson for Climate Power previously told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

AFPM launched its seven-figure ad campaign designed to highlight and criticize the administration’s EV policies on Tuesday. The ads, which describe Biden’s policies as an EV mandate, are airing in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Ohio, Montana and Washington, D.C.

Climate Power’s warning letter to local affiliates states that the broadcasters “must remove these ads from the air immediately” because “there is no pending federal ‘car ban,’ and to claim otherwise is patently false and intentionally misleading.” The letter suggests that AFPM’s ads could be in violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules, and instructs the broadcasters to contact Climate Power — an Internal Revenue Service-recognized 501(c)4 that is spending more than $80 million to tout Biden’s climate policies ahead of the 2024 presidential election — to confirm that the ads are no longer running on their stations.

Climate Power strongly disputes that the Biden administration is imposing EV mandates, but the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed tailpipe emissions standards would effectively require 67% of all light-duty vehicles sold after model year 2032 to be electric, according to the agency. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also proposed its own aggressive update to fuel economy standards that would force manufacturers to substantially increase the fuel efficiencies of their fleets to an extent that effectively makes the policy an “EV mandate,” Senior Research Fellow for the Institute for Energy Research Dan Kish previously told the DCNF.

“These ads are filled with lies meant to scare Americans about a ‘car ban’ that doesn’t exist – and they should be taken off the air,” Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes said in a Tuesday statement. “The Biden administration isn’t banning gas-powered cars or appliances – they’re fighting against corporate polluters to make our air and water cleaner and give Americans more affordable alternatives to fossil fuel. Big Oil knows that and is intentionally misleading Americans to protect their obscene profits.”

Since 2021, the Berger Action Fund, a 501(c)4 affiliated with Wyss, has given about $40 million to the Fund for a Better Future, a grantmaking organization that shells out funds to support a wide range of left-of-center causes and organizations, according to Politico. The Berger Action Fund has also given more than $77 million to the Sixteen Thirty Fund, a “dark money” organization managed by the for-profit consultancy Arabella Advisors that does not have to disclose its donors, since 2021.

Because Wyss is a Swiss citizen, he is not allowed by law to directly donate to American political candidates or political committees, but the activities of his nonprofit and associated organizations have allowed him to quietly become one of the most influential individual donors in American politics today, according to The Associated Press.

In May 2021, Americans for Public Trust — a government watchdog and transparency group — filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Wyss, his nonprofits and affiliated organizations have “violated fundamental compliance and transparency rules” governing political spending by foreign nationals.

Climate Power did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Nick Pope on February 17, 2024

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