Questions for Senator Inhofe

September 25th, 2008

Posted by: admin

Today, Senator Inhofe (R-OK) released a report entitled Political Activity of Environmental Groups and Their Supporting Foundations. This document is an expanded version of a document published in 2004. The report’s general argument is that environmental groups are stealth advocates for the Democratic Party despite that environmental organizations claim to serve public interests:

Environmental activism has become a multibillion dollar industry in the U.S. Campaigns to save the whales or stop mining beg average Americans for their support through donation of their hard earned dollars. These environmental campaigns also receive millions from charitable foundations such as the PEW Foundation, Turner Foundation, and Heinz Foundation. But what most don’t know when they donate to a cause to “save the rainforest” or “save the polar bear” is that their money could end up being used for partisan activities that are only tangentially related, if related at all, to the cause for which they are intended…

…Because of the complicated web of 501(c), 527, and PAC organizations, it is clear that individuals who donate to a 501(c)(3) organization intending to contribute to the cause of the organization, have no clear mechanism for verifying that their donation was used for the cause. Unsuspectingly, these donors may be contributing to partisan activities when they originally intended their donation to aide an environmental cause. Additionally, there is not sufficient oversight over these organization to police their political and campaign activities.

Are contributors to environmental groups really so naïve that they do not understand the political implications of the groups they donate to? I doubt it.

…history has shown it [League of Conservation Voters] to consistently favor Democratic candidates. It is closely followed by the Sierra Club, which is currently only giving two percent of its support to Republican candidates this year. The NRDC has gone on television showing its support for a Democratic Senator. EDF has a board comprised of publicly-disclosed advisors and financial supporters to the Senator Barack Obama Presidential Campaign. Greenpeace, aside from being affiliated with all the above organizations, is chaired by a man who is directly associated with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Furthermore, all of these organizations are associated with each other through the Partnership Project, which has consistently supported the Democratic environmental platform.

Perhaps this is because Democratic candidates tend to vote for the interests of the environmental groups mentioned above? This is certainly a plausible explanation!

While some environmental groups lean towards the left, are there not some environmental organizations that tend to lean right? Boone and Crocket Club, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation come to mind.

In conclusion, as we turn to another election year, these environmental groups continue to campaign in much the same manner. With a presidential campaign in full swing, these organizations and foundations are likely to wield an even bigger sword than in years previous. Yet for all of the activities that take place, both those mentioned above and others, these groups remain unchecked. They continue to do business under the scope of charitable organizations. While it is not likely that their partisan habits are going to change, the public should see these nonprofits for what they are, and what they stand for.

Nearly all special interest groups justify their position in the public interest. How are environmental groups any different than other category of group, liberal or conservative?

Is there any chance the resurfacing of this report has to do with the League of Conservation Voters’ dirty dozen campaign? Senator Inhofe is highlighted as having one of the worst environmental voting records. The League of Conservation Voters’ environmental scorecard rubric rated the Senator as follows (0% is lowest possible voting record; 100% is the highest):

110th, 1st Session (2007) 0%

109th Congress (2005-2006) 0%

108th Congress (2003-2004) 4%

107th Congress (2001-2002) 0%

106th Congress (1999-2000) 0%

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