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Anti-Keystone group spends big on DC TV ads

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A coalition of environmental groups hit the Washington airwaves during the Sunday morning talk shows with ads pressuring Secretary of State John Kerry to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which is under review at his agency.

The All Risk, No Reward Coalition spent a total of $28,000 to run a 30-second ad on Fox News Sunday and CBS's "Face The Nation" on Washington TV stations, documents in Political Ad Sleuth show.  It follows two other TV ads the group ran in April in Nebraska and D.C. TV markets. The latest ad urges the Kerry to heed the Environmental Protection Agency's criticisms of the State Department's cost-benefit analysis of the controversial pipeline project. The State Department has jurisdiction because the proposed pipeline crosses the U.S.-Canadian border.

The group buying the ad represents a coalition of the League of Conversation Voters, the League of Women Voters, the Indigenous Environmental Network and some state-based organizations. It's unclear who the principal funders behind the organization are, but one backer might be environmentally-minded California billionaire Tom Steyer, who has sparked controversy by intervening in the Democratic primary for the special election in Massachusetts despite a pledge by the candidate to shun outside money.

The coalition quotes Steyer in its latest blog post. The chair of the coalition is Randy Thompson, who is described as a Nebraska landowner and Keystone XL pipeline opponent.

Sunlight has asked the coalition for information about its financial backers and will update this post with any information we receive.

The group launched in April with the help of some prominent Washington players, including: Bill Burton, a former top aide to President Barack Obama who founded Priorities USA, the dark money group that supported the president's reelection last year, and Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Burton is now a senior advisor to the League of Conservation Voters; Holt last week announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate in the special election to fill the vacancy left by the death of the Garden State's longtime Democratic senator, Frank Lautenberg.