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A Bill Gates-led energy organization backed by fellow billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Reid Hoffman and George Soros ramped up its lobbying activity in the months leading up to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin’s surprise climate deal announcement, according to a Fox News Digital review of disclosure forms.
Breakthrough Energy LLC, a company associated with the billionaire-backed Breakthrough Energy coalition, reported dropping $1.43 million into lobbying activity since May 2021 in filings to the Secretary of the Senate reviewed by Fox News Digital.
During the second quarter – when talks reportedly stalled on the bill – Breakthrough Energy LLC upped its lobbying endeavors by pushing $390,000 into its influence campaign, which included President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, the disclosures show. This amount was $100,000 more than the company had spent on lobbying in any previous quarter since last summer.
The Manchin-Schumer deal, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, is a slimmed-down version of Biden’s Build Back Better Act. It will cost an estimated $433 billion, most of which will be invested in climate provisions while increasing tax revenue by an estimated $739 billion.
Breakthrough Energy, founded by Bill Gates, increased its lobbying expenditures leading up the Schumer-Manchin climate deal. (AP)
The bill will require large corporations to pay at least 15% in taxes, projected to raise tax revenue by $313 billion. It will also boost IRS enforcement, estimated to increase tax revenue by another $124 billion, and close the carried interest loophole, which is estimated to raise $14 billion.
Manchin’s blessing of the legislation ended a months-long stalemate on the multitrillion-dollar Build Back Better Act, which Manchin repeatedly blasted as exorbitant and inflationary.
While Breakthrough Energy LLC upped its lobbying operations, Gates was one of many individuals and groups involved in a Manchin pressure campaign to gain his approval on the legislation, Politico reported.
Breakthrough Energy, meanwhile, also supports Form Energy, an energy-storage company that is eyeing a manufacturing hub in Manchin’s home state of West Virginia.
Bill Gates personally spoke to Sen. Joe Manchin as part of a reported pressure campaign that pushed the West Virginia senator to support the Inflation Reduction Act. (The Associated Press)
Form Energy, likewise, was involved with the pressure campaign. Individuals at the group reportedly walked Manchin’s staff through “growth trajectories with and without the proposed suite of legislative incentives,” Politico reported.
“It wasn’t a quid pro quo kind of thing,” the source told Politico, adding that the senator’s staff wanted to “answer nagging questions to get him to yes.”
Breakthrough Energy employees also displayed exuberance following Manchin’s support of the legislation.
“I’ve been waiting my entire career for a piece of legislation like this,” Aliya Haq, Breakthrough Energy’s vice president of U.S. policy and advocacy, told Roll Call. “The bill is certainly the biggest piece of climate legislation to come out of Congress ever.”
Breakthrough Energy seeks to transform “virtually every activity in modern life and every major sector of the economy.” (AP)
“We’ve been basically waiting for this shot for 12 years,” Haq added. “I feel cautious hope that we might actually have a shot.”
Formed in 2015, Breakthrough Energy seeks to transform “virtually every activity in modern life and every major sector of the economy,” including electricity, agriculture, manufacturing, transportation and buildings, to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, according to its website.
In addition to Gates, Breakthrough Energy has reportedly received backing from dozens of billionaires, including Jeff Bezos, Reid Hoffman, George Soros, Michael Bloomberg, Mark Zuckerberg, Tom Steyer, Richard Branson and others.
“Breakthrough Energy Ventures brings together individuals and companies with the capital, the commitment, and the relationships to navigate the exceptionally complex process of developing and deploying pioneering energy solutions for the future,” its website states.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona will be the critical vote in deciding the fate of the Inflation Reduction Act. (Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“We invest creatively and flexibly, and our goal is to generate a financial return on our investments – each of which will have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”
Breakthrough Energy, which advocates for the Inflation Reduction Act on their website, initially responded to a Fox News Digital inquiry, but did not provide information or a comment on Gates or their lobbying activity.
Democrats will now try to pass the Inflation Reduction Act through reconciliation, which allows them to get around the Senate filibuster with just 50 votes.
The critical vote will come from Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a moderate who has yet to voice support for the bill. If Sinema votes yes, the anticipated 50-50 tie would be broken by Vice President Kamala Harris.
Fox News’ Jessica Chasmar, Thomas Catenacci and Megan Henney contributed reporting.
Joe Schoffstall is a Fox News reporter