The ‘Swampetition’: NCGOP chairman candidate Whatley’s firm lobbies FOR solar


Supporter of NCGOP chairman candidate Michael Whatley like to pass their guy off as just another proponent of offshore drilling.  Well, there’s more to the story:


[…] Having interviewed principals at CfA and EPI, I circled back to the Consumer Energy Alliance, hoping for an interview with one of its leaders. Yet, after having invited the scrutiny, CEA suddenly became reticent, saying in emails in early October that it would be unable to provide anyone for an interview and suggesting we meet with one of their executives at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners conference in mid-November. Happily, President David Holt agreed to an interview when we asked again on Oct. 24.


In addition to its 78 energy providers, CEA also lists as members five “Academic Groups” and 146 “Consumers/Business/Agriculture/Industry/End-Users” — mostly trade organizations, chambers of commerce and labor unions. It also claims to have 500,000 other “members” — individuals who have signed up on its website to receive information.


CEA’s mission, as stated on its website — is a bit muddled. It claims to be both the “voice of the energy consumer,” and to “provide consumers with sound, unbiased information on U.S. and global energy issues.” (Emphasis added.)


So, is CEA the “voice” of the consumer or is it attempting to whisper into the consumer’s ear?


“I think it goes in both directions,” Holt said. “The foundation behind the Consumer Energy Alliance is [that] energy impacts every man, woman and child in the U.S., and there was not an organization that really talked to these other economic sectors around the country — the farming community, the manufacturing sector, and transportation and small businesses, and just basic families from a personal security standpoint — [about] how we can continue environmental improvement while we meet our basic energy needs.”


EPI and other critics say CEA is neither the “voice” of consumers nor a provider of “unbiased” information to them.


CEA’s policy positions are unabashedly pro-energy development. CEA has supported increased offshore and land-based oil and natural gas drilling and the Keystone XL pipeline to deliver oil from Canadian tar sands to U.S. refineries.


Holt said all policy campaigns are decided by CEA’s nine-member board of directors, which meets monthly via conference call and twice a year in person. In addition to Holt, the all-male board includes executives from the airline, manufacturing, insurance, retail and petrochemical sectors; none has a background in consumer advocacy.


CEA’s 2016 Form 990 shows it received almost $2.6 million for the year and paid more than $1.1 million to HBW Resources, the public relations and lobbying firm Holt founded with Andrew Browning (CEA chief operating officer) and Michael Whatley (CEA executive vice president).[…] 


Whatley is the “W” in HBW.



[…] Houston-based Holt formerly worked for oil and gas trade publisher Hart Energy Services, the Texas Railroad Commission, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee and the U.S. State Department. He started a public affairs business in about 2004, which he said led to the formation of CEA in 2005. “And then as business continued to expand, [HBW was formed]. And now have a pretty vibrant organization with offices in … eight states around the country,” he said.


In 2011, Salon published a report detailing the role of Whatley and CEA in what it called a “stealthy public relations offensive … designed to manipulate the U.S. political system [and] deluge the media with messages favorable to the tar-sands industry.” It quoted a Natural Resources Defense Council analyst’s description of CEA as a “front group that represents the interests of the oil industry.”


According to his biography on the HBW website, D.C.-based Whatley served as a “senior advisor” to the Trump-Pence campaign and transition team and “represents companies in the energy and transportation sectors before the U.S. Congress, the federal government, agencies and state governments.”HBW reported $850,000 in lobbying revenue to the U.S. Senate in 2017, including CEA, oil and gas producer Noble Energy, and Sunnova Energy, a residential solar and battery storage technology service provider.[…]


Well,  THERE you have it.   According to their website,  Sunnova makes solar panels in  addition to battery storage devices.



North Carolina provides some of the most lucrative subsidies and benefits to the solar energy in the country.  And now, one of the solar industry’s paid mouthpieces wants to run THE political party that (1) runs the state legislature, and (2)  is allegedly all about free markets and independence from government subsidies?


5 thoughts on “The ‘Swampetition’: NCGOP chairman candidate Whatley’s firm lobbies FOR solar

  1. I don’t see how Whatley’s support is any different from Murphy’s or Perry’s. You take the money, you deliver the goods.

  2. In my new effort to try to make reasonable responses, I would respond to Yond by saying the following.
    The article is doing what so many articles on here do. Some research has been done to show a side of the story nobody seems to be addressing. How can you line that up with the comment that Murphy and Perry take the money and deliver the goods?
    First of all, Perry has never held political office. What money has she ever taken except for being a physician and what goods has she ever delivered except for providing medical care? Her big political issue is she, as a private citizen has a right to, did an endorsement ad for a Democrat Congressman running against a conservative Republican. She wasn’t paid to do it. That’s her issue.
    As for Murphy, I guess you are saying because his campaign report has a lot of doctors on it he is delivering “the goods” for the medical industry?
    The guy ran on a platform that focussed on him being a doctor. He said that was going to be a main focus. He’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do. If you don’t like the outcome, that’s fine. But your theory would indicate if Planned Parenthood provided Murphy or Perry with large amounts of money, they would support abortion. No reasonable person would believe that.
    Most candidates have a background that will be a strong indicator of what they might be like as an elected official. The article shows that Whatley will be involved financially in things that are in opposition to the NCGOP platform.
    Murphy’s record shows he will be heavily involved in issues relating to healthcare, be it in the state legislature or in Congress. That doesn’t mean he’s a liberal. Could bring a conservative perspective to healthcare issues?
    Joan Perry is also a doctor so I’m sure healthcare would be her focus as well. My concern is whether she would bring a conservative perspective to the table.
    In her very short time in politics there seems to be an issue that an earlier article referred to as flip flopping.
    She says she is conservative, but she did a tv endorsing a Democrat against a Republican conservative. She made initial statements supporting Thom Tillis and his opposition to President Trump’s Emergency Declaration for a border wall. Then, she quickly changed her position. I saw her at a forum and have seen two interviews with her online. Each time she said repeatedly she is not a politician. I think she could accurately say she has never held public office. However, she appears to be showing a very quick learning curve when it comes to some of the traits of seasoned politicians. She quickly learned that her district is a Trump district and opposing Trump will not get her votes. She now sings the praises of the President. It is for the voter to decide if that is political expediency or a rapid change of heart.
    Perry and Murphy both have questions like these that should be answered. However, I really don’t think “you take the money, you deliver the goods” applies to either one of them.

  3. You’re entitled to your opinion, but yours is different from mine. Read their finance reports. Look who gave money. Anyone who has been in this business for 10 minutes knows how the game works. The big money donated to these two candidates imposes obligations on them to support the causes supported by the donors. Any “reasonable” person can see that. Doctors are anti-gun, pro-Obamacare, and very protective of their medical and pharmaceutical industries. It’s not a debatable observation.

    There is a video of Perry endorsing liberal Mike McIntyre. (His voting record is posted elsewhere on this site.) When she and her husband went public with the endorsement, there was a Republican in the same race that she failed to endorse. The NCGOP standards, she is guilt of party disloyalty and should have been removed from the party. Unfortunately, no one in the state party has any backbone, so these things remain talking points instead of becoming action actions.

    There is a lot of backsliding on this site since the election. Now is not the time to go mushy. Just because you don’t like something or you don’t have the evidence to support a statement doesn’t make it BS. I’ve tried to offer comments to help keep the traffic up here as the pre-election discussion has been great. If we’re going to start acting like RINOs and covering our mouths, eyes, and ears to support RINOs, my time here is close to done. There are grave issues in the Third and Ninth Districts. The Democrats are salivating and for good cause. There will be friendly and hostile fire in the Third and Ninth.

    I voted for John McCain and said I would never do it again. Than I voted for Mitt Romney and said I would never do it again. After twice breaking my promise to myself, it’s time to stick to my guns. I, for one, will not be voting for Tillis. The only question is whether I vote for a Democrat or just sit out voting for that seat, like 76% of the people in the Third District did in the primary.

    And finally, if would be helpful if you add an extra paragraph break between your paragraphs. Your post is very hard to read.

    1. The man putting his foot down about not tolerating any more bull-shit political campaign propaganda / outright lying is “back-sliding”? Come on, now.

      Making statements without supporting evidence “doesn’t make it B.S.” ????? THAT is the textbook example of bullshit. In many cases, repeating information with no factual basis, with malice in your heart, can get you sued for slander.

      It’s especially pathetic when people keep repeating information that five minutes on Google could expose as BS.

      A lot of people are mad Mike Speciale didn’t win. Mike has had a good voting record in the NC House. But he didn’t work very hard in the congressional race. I don’t know what he was thinking. Maybe he’d be coronated or anointed?

      Taking your marbles, pouting, and going home because Mike didn’t win is the wrong attitude. It’s bad for the party and for the district. And it disrespects the memory of Walter and the 25 years of good work he did. It makes you as bad as those RINOs who form those “Republicans for Democrat X” groups.

      Instead of listening to a few loudmouths, do some research. Make sure you’re armed with real-live facts before the July runoff.

  4. I know Michael Whatley and he is anything BUT a solar whore/goon. Whatever that is on the lobbying disclosure I am sure is a sliver of whatever business HBW does, which as you can tell from the vast majority of your post has to do with oil and gas.

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