American Energy Alliance

The American Energy Alliance (AEA) is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit and a core member of the Koch network. Per Politico, “The American Energy Alliance is the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research… The groups are run by Tom Pyle, a former lobbyist for Koch Industries. Pyle regularly attends the mega-donor summits organized by the Koch brothers, including the 2012 winter summit in Indian Wells, Calif., where the Kochs raised more than $150 million to be directed to groups ahead of the general election.”[1]

Early in the presidential campaign of 2012, the AEA launched a $3.6 million ad campaign blaming President Obama for high gas prices.[2] The organization continued its political activities in the fall. As detailed by the Center for Public Integrity, “Swing state voters in Virginia and Ohio last fall were bombarded with television advertisements encouraging them to ‘stand with coal’ and ‘vote no on Obama’s failing energy policy.’ But the sponsor of these ads — a pro-business nonprofit advocacy group called the American Energy Alliance — says the messages weren’t designed to aid Republican Mitt Romney in his bid to unseat President Barack Obama.”[3] The AEA insisted that its activities were not political as it went even further in its measures – per CPI, “the American Energy Alliance [also] released an extensive infographic comparing Obama’s policies and Romney’s prior to Election Day.”[4] Despite the activities, the AEA told the IRS that “it did not ‘engage in direct or indirect political campaign activities on behalf of or in opposition to candidates for public office’” in 2012.[5] Similarly, in 2014, the group spent over $400,000 on ads attacking Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) for his stance on the Keystone XL pipeline.[6]

In mid-2015, the AEA led a coalition of 20 groups advocating for an end to the Wind Production Tax Credit.[7] However, as detailed by the Energy and Policy Institute, “18 of the signatories signed a similar letter written by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity in June 2014; 14 have ties to fossil fuel funders and 18 have ties to the Koch Brothers’ political network with some organizations receiving funding directly from the Kochs and others receiving funding from the ‘dark money ATM’ Donors Trust/Donors Capital Fund or other front groups like the ‘Center to Protect Patients Rights.’”[8]

[1]Kochs linked to anti-Obama gas ads.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 3/29/12

[2]Kochs linked to anti-Obama gas ads.” Kenneth Vogel, Politico, 3/29/12

[3]Anti-Obama nonprofit tells IRS it’s not ‘political’.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 11/18/13

[4]Anti-Obama nonprofit tells IRS it’s not ‘political’.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 11/18/13

[5]Anti-Obama nonprofit tells IRS it’s not ‘political’.” Michael Beckel, The Center for Public Integrity, 11/18/13

[6]Ad targets Sen. Udall as anti-Keystone pipeline.” Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill, 5/14/14

[7]American Energy Alliance leads front group attack on Wind PTC.” Gabe Elsner, The Huffington Post blog, 9/3/15

[8]American Energy Alliance leads front group attack on Wind PTC.” Gabe Elsner, The Huffington Post blog, 9/3/15