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Meet the Greenpeace Activist Who Confronted Hillary Clinton over Ties to Fossil Fuel Industry

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With the Wisconsin primary just a day away, Democratic presidential challengers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over the weekend over whether fossil fuel lobbyists are funding Clinton’s campaign. The dispute took center stage after video emerged of Greenpeace activist Eva Resnick-Day questioning Clinton at a campaign rally at the State University of New York in Purchase on Thursday. Resnick-Day has been working on a Greenpeace campaign to get candidates to take a pledge rejecting future donations from oil, gas and coal lobbyists and executives. “These lobbyists are people whose job it is to make connections with Senator Clinton to influence her policy going forward. And giving her money in the campaign, they’re clearly trying to find influence,” says Resnick-Day. “I don’t think that that is how democracy should work.” We speak with Resnick-Day, the democracy organizer for Greenpeace who confronted Clinton.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: With the Wisconsin primary just a day away, Democratic presidential challengers Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders sparred over the weekend over whether fossil fuel lobbyists are funding Clinton’s campaign. The dispute took center stage after video emerged of a Greenpeace activist questioning Clinton at a campaign rally at the State University of New York in Purchase Thursday. You have to listen very closely to the interaction between the activist and Hillary Clinton.

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Will you act on your word to reject fossil fuel money in the future in your campaign?

HILLARY CLINTON: I do not have—I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies. I am so sick—

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Yeah, and registered lobbyists.

HILLARY CLINTON: I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me! I’m sick of it!

AMY GOODMAN: During a rally on Friday in Wisconsin, Bernie Sanders called on Hillary Clinton to apologize for characterizing remarks he made about the oil and gas industry’s donations to her campaign as lies.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Yesterday, some of you may know, Secretary Clinton was met with by a environmental activist at a forum that she held, and the activist asked her if she would reject money from the fossil fuel industry, which I have. And the reason I have—the reason I have is that I happen to believe that climate change is one of the great crises facing our planet. But Secretary Clinton said in response to this young woman, she said she was sick—quote, “sick of the Sanders campaign lying about,” end of quote, contributions she received from the fossil fuel industry. Well, Secretary Clinton owes us an apology. We went online. We were telling the truth. The truth is—the truth is that Secretary Clinton has relied heavily on funds from lobbyists working for the oil, gas and coal industry. According to an analysis done by Greenpeace, Hillary Clinton’s campaign and her super PAC have received more than $4.5 million from the fossil fuel industry. In fact, 57 oil, gas and coal industry lobbyists have directly contributed to her campaign, with 43 of them contributing the maximum allowed for the primary. And these are not just workers in the fossil fuel industry, these are paid registered lobbyists. Secretary Clinton, you owe our campaign an apology. We were telling the truth.

AMY GOODMAN: On Sunday, Meet the Press host Chuck Todd asked Hillary Clinton about her ties to the fossil fuel industry.

HILLARY CLINTON: I have been working to try to move us away from fossil fuels for many years. When I was in the Senate, I introduced legislation to take away the subsidies. I voted against the Dick Cheney’s energy bill in 2005. And I could go on and on. When I got to be secretary of state, I was at the original meeting in 2009 with President Obama, where we were trying to convince China and India and others to come on board with accepting some restrictions—

CHUCK TODD: Right.

HILLARY CLINTON: —that would lead to what finally occurred with the Paris agreement. So, when people make these kinds of claims, which now I think have been debunked. Actually, The Washington Post said “three Pinocchios.” The New York Times also analyzed it, and other independent analysts have said that they are misrepresenting my record. I’m just not going to—I feel sorry sometimes for the young people who, you know, believe this. They don’t do their own research. And I’m glad that we can now point to a reliable independent analysis to say, no, it’s just not true.

AMY GOODMAN: Joining us now is Eva Resnick-Day. She’s the Greenpeace activist who confronted Hillary Clinton Thursday. Also with us, Charlie Cray, research specialist for Greenpeace and lead researcher on the fossil fuel lobbyists’ contributions to the Clinton campaign. According to Greenpeace’s research, the Clinton campaign has received more than four-and-a-half million dollars from lobbyists, bundlers and large donors connected to the fossil fuel industry. Clinton maintains she’s received about $330,000 from individuals who work for fossil fuel companies.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! Eva Resnick-Day, let’s start with you. Describe the scene at the university, State University of New York—Purchase, when you were able to question Hillary Clinton. How hard was it to get to her?

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Absolutely. So, it’s pretty difficult to make sure that you’ll get to the front of a rally and even have the opportunity to stick your hand out and, hopefully, get to ask a question to Secretary Clinton. We, myself and an activist from 350 Action named Miles, had to wait about six hours in order to make sure that we were at the front of the line to even get the opportunity to propose this question.

AMY GOODMAN: Had you been trying before this day?

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Absolutely. This is a larger climate movement of thousands of activists across the country who have showed up to rallies, to protest at fundraisers, demanding that whoever our future leader is is accountable to the people and not contributions and corporations in their campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: She says you’re a Bernie Sanders representative who was trying to bird-dog her. Is that true?

EVA RESNICK-DAY: It’s absolutely not true. I am a democracy organizer for Greenpeace USA. I have no affiliation to the Sanders campaign. And Greenpeace is an independent organization that does not support or oppose candidates.

AMY GOODMAN: So, explain—

EVA RESNICK-DAY: We only work on issues.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what it was you exactly asked her and what she replied.

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Yeah, thank you so much. So the first part of my question seems to never make it into the news, and that was: “Thank you so much for tackling climate change. Will you act on those words and reject future fossil fuel money in your campaign?”

AMY GOODMAN: And what was her answer?

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Her answer was: “I have only taken money from employees of the oil and gas industry, and I’m so sick of the Sanders campaign lying.” And I don’t know if you could hear it, but in the video I also tried to interject, but wasn’t able to, “Also, fossil fuel lobbyist money.”

AMY GOODMAN: And explain what you mean.

EVA RESNICK-DAY: So, 57 registered coal, oil and gas lobbyists have directly donated or bundled more than $1.3 million to the Hillary Clinton campaign. And these lobbyists are people whose job it is to make connections with Senator Clinton to influence her policy going forward. And giving her money in the campaign, they’re clearly trying to find influence. And I don’t think that that is how democracy should work. It should be democracy for the people, not registered lobbyists.

AMY GOODMAN: And what is the pledge that you were asking her to sign?

EVA RESNICK-DAY: Yeah, so Greenpeace and 20 other organizations launched a pledge to fix democracy, asking all presidential candidates to reject future fossil fuel money from lobbyists in their campaigns and also to champion campaign finance reform and restore voting rights for everyone.

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How Much Money Has Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Taken from Fossil Fuel Companies?

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