Friends of the Earth Canada & Friends of the Earth United States file complaint for investigation by Colorado Attorney General Phil WeiserGroups claim political contributions by the CPPIB via Crestone Peak Resources illegal under Colorado law
Ottawa and San Francisco – Friends of the Earth Canada and Friends of the Earth United States have filed a complaint with the Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser requesting an investigation into potentially illegal political contributions made by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board via Crestone Peak Resources. Under Colorado law corporations controlled by foreign governments are barred from making political contributions in the state.
In 2018, Crestone Peak Resources of Colorado gave $600,000 to Republican action committees in an attempt to prevent the adoption of new health and environmental regulations for oil and gas operations supported by Democrats.
“We asked CPPIB to take action to reverse these political donations. We asked the Canadian Parliament to act. We asked individual members of parliament to act. None did. So we are turning to the US courts,” said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.
“Coloradans have the right to protect their environment without interference from corporations controlled by foreign governments,” said Hallie Templeton, Deputy Legal Director for Friends of the Earth US. “Strict limitations on political contributions exist for a reason. We hope that Attorney General Weiser swiftly initiates a thorough investigation into these potential violations.”
Friends of the Earth believes Crestone Peak’s political contributions were illegal because, although the company claims to be a Colorado corporation, CPPIB created it in 2016 and retained 96% ownership. It maintained control of the company by placing three of its own employees on the board including Avik Dey who was head of CPPIB’s natural resources section. Further, the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is a Canadian crown corporation, created by an Act of Parliament. Its board members are appointed by the Government of Canada and the funds it invests are collected by the Government of Canada in the form of a mandatory payroll tax.
“A corporation isn’t independent just because it says it is. The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board controls Crestone Peak. CPPIB has no business allowing its assets to be used for illegal political contributions,” said Mr. Bennett. “These funds should be returned to Canadian pensioners.”