Checks and Balances Project History
Checks & Balances Project Project founder, former television reporter Andrew Schenkel, started C&BP after a chance conversation at COP 15 in Copenhagen, Denmark, with Tigercomm President Mike Casey. Their idea: Address the decline of the media’s investigative reporting capacity and the growth of the influence peddling industry through an online watchdog effort. Hold government officials and lobbyists accountable on energy, sustainability, and public policy.
In June 2011, Gabe Elsner joined Andrew. With a long history of clean energy activism, Gabe had seen C&BP in action in his capacity as a social media associate at Tigercomm, which was working on behalf of C&BP. The project began aggressively investigating the fossil fuel-funded disinformation infrastructure by ALEC, TransCanada, and API. The work captured the interest not only from media outlets, but also several people who formed Renew American Prosperity, a 501(c)(4), to raise funds for C&BP and efforts like it.
Andrew Schenkel left C&BP in 2012 to start his own environmental communications business. His vision and success continues to this date.
After two years with C&BP, Gabe realized the need for more capacity to debunk misinformation by fossil fuel-backed front groups and to promote the positive benefits of clean energy. He left C&BP to found the Energy & Policy Institute, a pro-clean energy website.
Former NYSE and NASDQ spokesman Scott Peterson took over as executive director of C&BP in 2014. He has focused on:
- investigating the influence of lobbyists for the utility Dominion Resources and the coal industry in Virginia’s response to federal Clean Power Plan standards;
- the influence of the tar sands lobby on the U.S. State Department’s consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline; and
- the efforts by powerful state utilities to influence their respective regulators on state corporation and public utility commissions.
C&BP is largely underwritten by Renew American Prosperity, a 501(c)(4), but also receives funding from charitable foundations and individual donors. C&BP receives strategic support from Tigercomm LLC, an Arlington, Virginia, based cleantech public relations firm.