think tanks

How Donors Trust distributed millions to anti-climate groups

The secretive funding network distributed $118m to 102 groups including some of the best-known thinktanks on the right

exhibitors promote their oil and gas related businesses : funding climate change deniers

Dozens of exhibitors promote their oil and gas related businesses. By 2010, Donors Trust had distributed $118m to 102 thinktanks or action groups. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

(editors note:  VLTP has previously noted Donor’s Trust, the American Enterprise Institute, Amerians for Prosperity, and the Heartland Institute as members of the Koch/ALEC Cabal, which we now know is international in scope.)
The secretive funding channel known as the Donors Trust patronised a host of conservative causes.

But climate was at the top of the list. By 2010, Donors Trust had distributed $118m to 102 thinktanks or action groups which have a record of denying the existence of a human factor in climate change, or opposing environmental regulations.

Recipients included some of the best-known thinktanks on the right. The American Enterprise Institute, which is closely connected to the Republican party establishment and has a large staff of scholars, received more than $17m in untraceable donations over the years, the record show.

But relatively obscure organisations did not go overlooked. The Heartland Institute, virtually unknown outside the small world of climate politics, received $13.5m from the Donors Trust.

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party group seen as the strike force of the conservative oil billionaire Koch Brothers, received $11m since 2002.

Levi Russell, spokesman for Americans for Prosperity, declined to comment on the importance of that support to the organisation. “We’re very grateful for each of the millions of activists and donors that make what we do possible,” he said in an email.

The secretive funding network also funded individuals, such as Jo Kwong, an official at the Philanthropy Roundtable who was awarded $200,000 in 2010. And there was strong interest in funding media projects.

Some of the groups on the Donors Trust list would have struggled to exist without being bankrolled by anonymous donors.

The support helped the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (Cfact), expand from $600,000 to $3m annual operation. In 2010, Cfact received nearly half of its budget from those anonymous donors, the records show.

The group’s most visible product is the website, Climate Depot, a contrarian news source run by Marc Morano. Climate Depot sees itself as the rapid reaction force of the anti-climate cause. On the morning after Obama’s state of the union address, Morano put out a point by point rebuttal to the section on climate change.

The gregarious Morano is a former aide to the Republican senator Jim Inhofe notorious for declaring climate change the greatest hoax on mankind.

According to Cfact’s tax filings, Morano, listed as communications director, was the most highly paid member of the organisation.

However, Craig Rucker, the group’s executive director, insisted the funding was not critical to their work. “It is not crucial in the least. Climate Depot’s continued operation is not linked to funding from any particular source,” he said.

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This article is written by Suzanne Goldenberg and was posted at The Guardian, Thursday 14 February 2013
the guardian

McCrory Appoints Art Pope To Head Budget

Here is something of critical importance to North Carolina immediately.

First, excerpts from the article/broadcast at WFAE, the NPR station in Charlotte, NC.  Then, my personal commentary. ‘At a press conference ,,,Governor-elect Pat McCrory appointed …conservative activist Art Pope to be his deputy budget director–the governor’s top aide on budget issues. Pope … is a director of the Americans for Prosperity Super PAC, and he contributes millions to conservative causes and candidates through the John W. Pope Foundation, which he also runs… …”Bob Phillips, the North Carolina director of Common Cause, a non-partisan campaign watchdog organization…”Are folks going to be able to do their job serving their constituents and properly scrutinizing the budget?”… Phillips says he is not opposed to Pope’s new role…” ‘

Now for my comments on this development. More →

KOCHTOPUS: The Kochs’ Influence Network Explained – VIDEO

This artistic interpretation of the Kochtopus is from “Outing the Oligarchy: Billionaires Who Benefit from Today’s Climate Crisis” from the International Forum on Globalization.

 

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To watch this explained on the very informative video, please click here

To navigate through the Kochtopus yourself (I recommend watching the video first), please click here

 

If Republicans hate government so much, why do they so desperately want to run (and own) ours?

Author’s note: Next week the Republicans will have their Presidential Convention, and if you listen to the Republican Politicians and the pundits, you can expect to hear a lot of talk about “Small Government”, “Limited Government”, “Low Taxes”, “Deficit Reduction” and the like. This is the first of a series that is intended to examine Radical Right Republican rhetoric vs reality, their talk versus their behavior. I believe the two are at polar opposites.

Ever since Ronald Reagan’s pronouncement that “Government is the Problem”, Republicans have been running against the government, and at the same time, they desperately want to run, or own the government.

I’d like to explore this dichotomy, and try to analyze why it exists, and try to determine if the Republican behavior matches their rhetoric. I suspect it won’t, but will provide my argument and you can decide for yourself.

It seems far more likely to me that Republicans, and radicalized far-right Republicans see maintaining their hold on the levers of government, with its unparalleled ability to organize capital at all levels through the taxing power, is a fine means to redistribute wealth from the general citizenry, you and me, to the wealthy and the power elites, from which they come. In case you’ve never seen President Reagan’s pronouncement, here it is:

More →

The Kochs’ Double Whammy

….”The Kochs have supported outright suppression in the past. They are longstanding leaders in the American Legislative Exchange Council, which has pushed voter ID bills making it more difficult for vulnerable populations to vote. In 2011, 34 state legislatures introduced such bills, potentially disenfranchising up to 21 million voters.

“The Kochs, then, have a crafty strategy for commandeering the political process: spend vast sums not only for TV ads, “grassroots” campaigns, and think tanks that manipulate public opinion, but also on direct efforts to ensure that many of those who aren’t fooled are unable to vote anyway.”

To read Robert Greenwald’s (Koch Brothers Exposed) analysis of an election bought and paid for, please click here.