Green energy companies are paying former aides for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to promote solar and wind power in states that President Donald Trump won during the election.
Mike Carr, an Energy Department in the Obama administration, is the executive director for New Energy America, a group that launches Wednesday to influence lawmakers in red states. Kendra Kostek, who was an aide to former Secretary of State Clinton’s presidential run, is pegged to be the group’s director of public engagement.
“The point is to make sure there is accountability in places where clean energy jobs are growing, but elected officials are voting against policies that can support the growth of clean energy,” a source familiar with the situation told Axios Wednesday.
The group’s first report provides a state-by-state comparison of jobs in the fossil fuel industry with those in the green energy industry. It finds that these clean energy and efficiency jobs combined already outnumber fossil fuel employment in 41 states.
The group and its initial report appear to be an attempt to carry out an idea Clinton has long promoted: push green energy technology in Republican-leaning states.
Clinton blamed Obama for her unpopularity in many Republican-leaning states dependent on coal production. She claims in her new book hashing out the specifics of last year’s election that the former president failed to adequately transition coal states to green energy jobs.
Clinton believes her high unpopularity levels allowed Trump to win nearly 63 percent of the vote in Kentucky and nearly 69 percent of the vote in West Virginia. Both states saw coal mining jobs plummet during the Obama years, and many blamed federal energy regulations.
Clinton’s biggest “regret,” she wrote, was alienating red states with a campaign gaffe suggesting a Clinton presidency would put coal out of business. Clinton regretted the gaffe but blamed the media for taking it out of context.
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