History of the Checks and Balances Project

Our founder, former television reporter Andrew Schenkel, started the Checks & Balances Project (C&BP) to help address the decline of the media’s investigative reporting capacity. His vision was to create a watchdog effort focusing on the overlap between energy, sustainability and policy.

Andrew’s vision and efforts attracted support from friends and colleagues in the media and communications sectors. A conversation here, some document drafting and video editing there. Over the next year, Andrew developed his idea into a 21st century watchdog platform.

In January 2011 C&BP officially launched.

Several months later, C&BP attracted support from the New Venture Fund and the involvement of issue advocate Matt Garrington, who was looking to put his program and campaign experience to work on Western energy and public lands issues. Matt worked with the project up until February 2013.

In June 2011, Gabe Elsner joined Andrew and Matt. Gabe had seen C&BP in action in his capacity as a social media associate at Tigercomm, a cleantech PR firm that works on behalf of C&BP, and he wanted to play a hands-on role.

Gabe, who has a long history of clean energy activism, volunteered to help C&BP investigate the fossil fuel-funded disinformation infrastructure that was working to support the fossil fuel lobby. His work not only captured media attention, but the interest of people who formed Renew American Prosperity, a 501(c)(4), to raise funds for C&BP and efforts like it.

As C&BP has grown, Gabe has dedicated more of his time to work to its mission, while still holding down his day job. He would appreciate the chance to take a nap.

Andrew left C&BP in 2012 to begin his own environmental communications business; Andrew’s departure left the project in good hands with Gabe at the helm as director.

C&BP continues to work to get to the bottom of how and why decisions that affect the public are influenced by those who seek to hold the U.S. back for selfish reasons. Renew American Prosperity supports our efforts to shine a light on the fossil fuel lobby’s influence and propaganda. With their help, C&BP will continue to use the most powerful check available on concentrations of power – public scrutiny.

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