A shadowy network identified as the “Billionaires Club” is showering funds on the environmentalist so-called “green movement.” In addition, this network may be violating federal laws in its controversial efforts to elect its operatives, seize control of the federal regulatory regime, and push its radical agenda on America, according to a new report by Republicans on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Now that the Billionaires Club has purchased so much power, it is using its agents in the bureaucracy to further fleece taxpayers to advance its own goals by granting its front groups even more money, the Senate investigators found. Top insiders such as David Rockefeller and Bill Gates are deeply involved.
Operating under the bogus guise of “philanthropy” with little scrutiny from the IRS, the network also goes to great lengths to conceal its activities and insulate itself from the damage it is doing to the U.S. economy and average Americans. The hard-hitting study also found that the tiny cabal of mega-wealthy establishment figures, operating lawlessly and in secret but in coordination with the media, has erected a swarm of AstroTurf groups that literally dominates “environmental” policymaking in the United States through its control of the out-of-control EPA. Together, they are undermining free enterprise and resource security, the report found.
The explosive 92-page study released last week, entitled “The Chain of Environmental Command: How a Club of Billionaires and Their Foundations Control the Environmental Movement and Obama’s EPA,” has been virtually ignored by the increasingly discredited establishment press — much of which willingly serves as a propaganda mouthpiece for the very same outfits exposed in the Senate report. However, the investigation has caused a stir in the alternative media, and critics are now calling for formal investigations and accountability. Lawmakers are upset, too.
“There is an unbelievable amount of money behind the environmental movement and far too much collusion between far-left environmental groups and the Obama EPA,” said Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), the senior Republican on the Senate committee who oversaw the investigation. “This report really gets to the core of tracking the money and exposing the collusion.” While he stopped short of saying a criminal conspiracy was afoot, Vitter said the operations of the Billionaires Club were clearly designed to remain in the shadows.
Among other tactics, the network relies on an “incredibly sophisticated” system of front groups and the exploitation of loopholes in the tax code. The Billionaires Club’s machinations also involve “a close knit network of like-minded 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,” the report said.
In some cases, the network funds pseudo-scientific research, too. The findings are then disseminated by far-left “media” outlets such as the Huffington Post and Mother Jones that are also receiving Billionaires Club funds. “In one example, a story reporting on a Park Foundation-supported anti-fracking study was reproduced by a Park-funded news organization through a Park-funded media collaboration where it was then further disseminated on Twitter by the maker of Park-backed anti-fracking movies,” the report found.
Three radical outfits in particular were identified as serving key roles in the scheming of the network: the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the Democracy Alliance, and the Divest/Invest movement. Other crucial components of the phony grassroots network involved in financing the deception and extremism include the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Schmidt Family Foundation created by Google boss Eric Schmidt, and the infamous Heinz Family Foundation largely controlled by Secretary of State John Kerry’s wife.
Another one of the “dominant” outfits in the pseudo-environmentalist movement exposed in the report is the California-based “Sea Change Foundation.” According to the Senate report and other investigations, the group relies heavily on funding from a shady Bermuda-based “company” that the Washington Free Beacon reported “appears only to exist on paper.” Sea Change, in turn, “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 report says. Other funding sources for Sea Change include billionaire population control zealot Bill Gates of Common Core infamy, top establishment insider and anti-sovereignty extremist David Rockefeller, and retail giant Walmart.
The uber-wealthy financiers of the AstroTurf network are also experts at turning phony tax-deductible “charitable” contributions into political outcomes, the report found. Among other dubious tactics, the Billionaires Club often gives funds to tax-exempt 501c3 non-profit groups, which are prohibited from lobbying or meddling in elections. They, in turn, funnel that money to 501c4 outfits that can and do lobby and campaign for draconian policies against Americans. The extremely well-funded far-left outfits are even accused of potentially running afoul of U.S. law by laundering “dark money” through front companies and non-profit “educational” groups to influence elections.
The report also blasted Obama’s “blatant hypocrisy” for attacking the Supreme Court after it struck down unconstitutional infringements on free speech — even as his mega-wealthy establishment allies were engaged in the tactics he was furiously condemning. “These entities propagate the false notion that they are independent, citizen-funded groups working altruistically,” the report said. “In reality, they work in tandem with wealthy donors to maximize the value of the donors’ tax deductible donations and leverage their combined resources to influence elections and policy outcomes, with a focus on the EPA.”
The report mostly focused on an “elite group of left wing millionaires and billionaires,” referred to throughout the report as the “Billionaires Club,” that actually “directs and controls the far-left environmental movement, which in turn controls major policy decisions and lobbies on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” The “scheme” to keep their efforts hidden and far removed from the political stage “is deliberate, meticulous, and intended to mislead the public,” the study found. In all, the probe documented over $250 million in fundraising from just 15 organizations.
According to the investigators, though, the rabbit hole goes so deep that it would be almost impossible to expose it all. “Although startling in its findings, the report covers only a small fraction of the amount of money that is being secreted and moved around,” the Senate Republican staff on the committee said in the executive summary of the inquiry. “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.”
Of course, now that the network has seized control of such much influence in government, much of the money spent to promote its goals is actually being extracted from taxpayers. The worldwide global-warming-alarmism industry, for example, brings in more than $360 billion in tax money each year. Meanwhile, the EPA and other bureaucracies fund legions of AstroTurf “green” activists with public monies to lobby for more power and taxpayer money for the agencies themselves.
“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 report continues. “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.”
Incredibly, climate alarmists tried to expose similar machinations, claiming huge sums of “dark money” was nefariously being pumped into what they call “climate denial.” Right around New Year, a paper in the journal Climatic Change by Drexel University "sociologist" Robert Brulle purported to unmask a vast web of special-interest “dark money” funding climate realists who object to the alarmist narrative. The headlines that accompanied it in the establishment press were certainly attention grabbing. The radical alarmist U.K. Guardian, for example, ran its article under the title: “Conservative groups have spent $1bn a year on the effort to deny science and oppose action on climate change.” Other outlets had similar bogus headlines.
The plan, however, backfired in spectacular fashion. Within a week, the supposed “study” had been so thoroughly discredited by the Heartland Institute and Forbes that it became a global laughing stock. Among other problems, two of the top three organizations identified as “denier” groups were actually shilling for carbon taxes. From the $1 billion (the organizations raised some $900 million in total, according to the study), Heartland senior fellow for environmental policy James Taylor did the math and exposed the real numbers. “At most, only $6.4 million of the ‘dark money’ addresses global warming topics, with a net of only $3.2 million opposing global warming activism,” he wrote.
Critics are up in arms about the latest findings in the Senate report, with many demanding proper investigations. “Foundations appear to be colluding with almost every department of the Obama administration,” said Ron Arnold, executive vice president of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. “And it’s not just the Big Green donors. It’s time for Congress to hear testimony from a sampling of manipulative foundation program directors and investment managers explaining themselves to those whose lives they influence.”
Separately, the conservative-leaning Cause of Action, which has long been seeking closer government scrutiny of the pseudo-environmentalist network, said it was time for serious probes. “While the IRS seems to be over-inclusive in auditing legitimate nonprofits that differ politically from the administration, they have been under-inclusive in their oversight of politically favored groups who are actually abusing the law,” said Director Dan Epstein. “What EPW’s report shows is the environmental movement is following the very model President Obama criticized, manipulating the tax code in the process, with no repercussion from the IRS.”
The simplest way to deal with Billionaires Club’s efforts to impose tyranny on America under the bogus guise of environmentalism would be for the government to respect the Constitution. The federal government has no constitutional authority to impose such policies in the first place. If Republicans are truly interested in slamming the brakes on the radical “green” machine that is undermining America, simply refusing to fund the EPA and its lawless machinations would do the trick quickly and easily.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at