Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) has been a vocal advocate in Congress for billions of dollars in new spending on “tax credits for clean energy.” Casten has forgotten to include in his salesmanship any reference to his share of an alternative energy firm that would stand to benefit from his proposal.
The lawmaker appeared at a “Climate Action Now” rally on September 13 alongside environmental advocates to promote President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion “infrastructure” reconciliation package. Casten insisted there should be no compromises in the bill’s provisions for “green” energy subsidies and incentives.
Casten did not mention his ownership position in Greenleaf Power, although the details are included in his legally required Congressional financial disclosures.
Greenleaf Power describes itself as a “leading provider of renewable energy.” Its website says that the company sells “carbon-neutral” electricity to all types of North American utilities. Biden’s proposed spending bill includes a program that calls for $150 billion to compel utility providers to purchase electricity from providers like Greenleaf.
Casten has regularly partnered with Democratic progressives to attack fellow Democrats who have expressed opposition to the “green energy” programs. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has been a frequent target. Casten told MSNBC last week that Manchin stands in the way of driving the green energy “car into the future.” Because of Manchin, he said that the car is not “driving as fast as it needs to.”
His stake in Greenleaf was reported to be $500,000 in 2019, although his disclosure in 2020 indicated that the same asset had “no value.” However, Casten’s disclosure indicated the asset produced $2,500 in interest income in 2020.
A spokeswoman for the Congressman confirmed last week that Casten still has an ownership interest in Greenleaf. She said that he has “no control” over the company.
Kendra Arnold with the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust told the Washington Free Beacon that Casten’s amount off of his interest in a given year is irrelevant. She said that the “potential to change the law” to make more money matters. Arnold added that the conflict of interest laws come into play when a lawmaker sponsors specific legislation that can benefit him without disclosing it.