This month, a new oil and gas front group called Fueling U.S. Forward launched with a slick website, flashy GIFs, and infographics.
The launch confirms the recent investigation by Peter Stone that revealed the Koch brothers’ plans to attack electric vehicles and promote oil and natural gas interests.
In his February article for Huffington Post, Stone talked to a number of industry reps familiar with the secretive campaign, and found that the Koch brothers through their networks plan “to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.”
How do we know that Fueling U.S. Forward is the Koch vs. Electric Vehicles campaign?
Stone’s article outlined how James Mahoney, “a confidante of the brothers and member of their company’s board,” has teamed up with Charles Drevna, currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, to develop and coordinate the campaign with oil and natural gas industry leaders.
As it happens, Drevna is listed as CEO and President of Fueling U.S. Forward in the program for the upcoming RedState Gathering in Denver, Colorado, and the Energy Expectations Conference hosted by U.S. Energy in October in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Drevna was until recently the head of the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, the country’s leading oil and gas refiners trade group.
So after industry reps revealed in winter that Drevna was preparing this PR effort, this new campaign appears with Drevna at the helm.
Another clear indication that Fueling U.S. Forward is the Koch-backed campaign was revealed through incorporation filings.
Fueling U.S. Forward, Inc. was incorporated in Delaware on July 13, 2016, and lists its principal office address as 2300 WILSON BLVD STE 400A ARLINGTON, VA 22201 — the Navy League Building.
That puts it one floor below the office of Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, Inc., the Koch-funded political group whose staff and board are filled with long-time Koch Industries employees.
If Fueling U.S. Forward isn’t the platform for the anticipated Koch-funded attack on electric vehicles, then it’s an unprecedented coincidence.
Who is working for the Koch brothers on Fueling U.S. Forward?
The PR firm tapped by Drevna (and, presumably, the Kochs) to run Fueling U.S. Forward is Hamilton Place Strategies, a policy and public affairs consulting firm that does a lot of communications strategy and, as one reporter described, is run by a team that “have logged lots of hours on the front lines of spin.”
Hamilton Place Strategies is run by Tony Fratto, former deputy press secretary in the George W. Bush White House and Bush-Cheney campaign communications specialist. Partners in the firm all predominantly GOP establishment veterans, many of whom have spent time on the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign and the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign.
The firm has partnered with the Charles Koch Foundation to co-fund the Fiscal Challenge, a competition for college students to pitch fiscally conservative policy ideas. Hamilton Place Strategies also has a history of representing fossil fuel interests. You can read up more on Hamilton Place Strategies in this dedicated profile page. [LINK TK]
We’ll be tracking this Koch-funded, Drevna-lead, Hamilton Place-executed campaign as it develops. Check back for updates on how the Koch brothers are campaigning against consumer choice and innovation in the electric vehicle market.