“There aren’t a lot of functioning democracies around the world that work this way where you can basically have millionaires and billionaires bankrolling whoever they want, however they want, in some cases undisclosed. What it means is ordinary Americans are shut out of the process.” Barack Obama, White House press conference, Oct 2013.
Yes, indeed. But the millionaires and billionaires doing the damage are Obama’s allies on the liberal-left, not his enemies on the right. So says a devastating report published today by the US Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works.
The report details how an elite group of rich liberal donors such as Tom Steyer and Hank Paulson – “the Billionaire’s Club” – is directing and controlling the far-left environmental movement, “which in turn lobbies and controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”
“Even more unsettling, a dominant organization in this movement is Sea Change Foundation, a private California foundation, which relies on funding from a foreign company with undisclosed donors. In turn, Sea Change funnels tens of millions of dollars to other large but discreet foundations and prominent environmental activists who strive to control both policy and politics.”
The scale of the conspiracy “by a small group of powerful and active millionaires and billionaires who exert tremendous sway over a colossal effort” is so vast, the report admits, that it has barely been able to scratch the surface.
“It would be virtually impossible to examine this system completely given the enormity of this carefully coordinated effort and the lack of transparency surrounding it.”
“The scheme to keep their efforts hidden and far removed from the political stage is deliberate, meticulous, and intended to mislead the public. While it is uncertain why they operate in the shadows and what they are hiding, what is clear is that these individuals and foundations go to tremendous lengths to avoid public association with the far-left environmental movement they so generously fund.”
There are financial benefits to this elite power-grab too.
In advancing their cause, these wealthy liberals fully exploit the benefits of a generous tax code meant to promote genuine philanthropy and charitable acts, amazingly with little apparent Internal Revenue Service scrutiny. Instead of furthering a noble purpose, their tax deductible contributions secretly flow to a select group of left wing activists who are complicit and eager to participate in the fee-for-service arrangement to promote shared political goals. Moreover, the financial arrangement provides significant insulation to these wealthy elite from the incidental damage they do to the U.S. economy and average Americans.
Through these arrangements, the Billionaire’s Club gains access to a close knit network of likeminded funders, environmental activists, and government bureaucrats who specialize in manufacturing phony “grassroots” movements and in promoting bogus propaganda disguised as science and news to spread an anti-fossil energy message to the unknowing public. Not only is the system incredibly sophisticated, but the Club’s attorneys and accountants have mastered the loopholes and gray areas in the tax code, which enable them to obtain a full tax benefit, even when the recipient of the grant is not recognized as a public charity, and even if the money indirectly and impermissibly funds political activities.
These labyrinthine arrangements serve at least three functions. First, they enable left-wing donors to give large sums of money to aggressively political causes in the guise of disinterested, non-partisan, and tax-deductible charitable donations; second, they mask the vast scale of the sums being pumped into hard-left environmental activist causes; third, they help maintain the illusion that the numerous and secretly well co-ordinated NGOs which use green issues to agitate for more state intervention and regulation are in fact innocent, mom-and-pop grass roots organisations with widespread popular support.
The ultimate recipients of donations from the Billionaire’s Club work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of their tax deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes. Often, they lobby on behalf of the EPA and advance policy positions important to the agency, which is statutorily prohibited from lobbying on its own behalf. But most importantly, they serve as the face of the environmental movement and present themselves as non-partisan benevolent charities to a public not aware of the secretive backroom deals and transfers.
What the report also suggests is that this scheme has the full blessing of the Obama administration, which is using the Environmental Protection Agency – heavily in league with these left-wing donors and hard-left green NGOs – to bypass the democratic process and railroad through unpopular legislation.
This report proves that the Obama EPA has been deliberately staffed at the highest levels with far-left environmental activists who have worked hand-in-glove with their former colleagues. The green-revolving door at EPA has become a valuable asset for the far-left and their wealthy donors. In addition to providing insider access to important policy decisions, it appears activists now at EPA also funnel government money through grants to their former employers and colleagues. The report tracks the amount of government aid doled out to activist groups and details a troubling disregard for ethics by certain high powered officials.