November 19th 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY QUT discrimination case exposes Human Rights Commission failings

CANBERRA OBSERVED Triggs in the gun: loaded section 18C to get overhaul

EDITORIAL First Brexit, now Trump - it's the economy, stupid!

ANALYSIS What is possible to a Trump Whitehouse

MANUFACTURING Foreign ownership no sole reason for breakdown

ENVIRONMENT Billionaires bankroll U.S. anti-coal campaign

LIFE ISSUES Abortion trauma link to male suicides

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Commission's "Get Pell" campaign fails on facts

GENDER AND POLITICS Pronouns, ordinary folk, and the war over reality

NAVAL MILITARY HISTORY A WWII encounter that deserves remembrance

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS China builds Great Wall in the South China Sea

MUSIC Dylan's Nobel prize causes song and dance

CINEMA Humanity within inhumanity: Hacksaw Ridge

BOOK REVIEW Bill is $500 billion and counting

BOOK REVIEW Arguments and facts: the man who remade Russia

POETRY Sunset at the Perth War Cemetery

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Billionaires bankroll U.S. anti-coal campaign

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, November 19, 2016

Following revelations that a U.S. foundation, the Sandler Foundation, has been bankrolling the campaign to stop the development of Queensland’s Galilee Basin black-coal deposits (News Weekly, November 5, 2016), a U.S. Senate Committee report has come to light which reveals that left-wing billionaires are funding the campaign against coal and other fossil fuels in the United States.

The so-called “Billionaires Club” finances the U.S. environmental movement through charitable foundations they have established, which have tax-deductible status.

The U.S. report is dated July 30, 2014, and comes from the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works.

After a careful inquiry, the committee found that an elite group of left-wing millionaires and billionaires, which the report refers to as the “Billionaires Club”, directs and controls the far-left environmental movement in the United States, which in turn controls major policy decisions and influences the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The report says: “The members of this elite [left] liberal club funnel their fortunes through private foundations to execute their personal political agenda, which is centred around restricting the use of fossil fuels in the United States.”

It states that the Billionaires Club “has established a dozen prominent private foundations with huge sums of money at their disposal to spend on environmental causes.

“Members of the Billionaires Club also donate directly to [selected] public charities. Generally, the public charity is considered the preferred status under the tax code, based on the greater tax benefits and protections on donor disclosures.

“Public charities attempt to provide the maximum amount of control to their donors through fiscal sponsorships, which are a legally suspect innovation unique to the left, whereby the charity actually sells its non-profit status to a group for a fee.”

The report also says that nearly all the public charities discussed in the report have an affiliated charitable entity that “engages in activities designed to influence elections and have no restrictions on their lobbying efforts”.

Vast sums

The report says there are “roughly a dozen prominent private foundations created by the Billionaires Club that have huge sums of money at their disposal to spend on environmental causes”.

Among them, it concentrates on several extremely active private foundations, including the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Schmidt Family Foundation, the Sea Change Foundation, the Park Foundation, and the Marisla Foundation.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has $US7.7 billion ($A10 billion) in assets, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation has $US6.3 billion, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has $US800 million of assets. The other funds have assets ranging from $US100 million to $US5.6 billion.

This information comes from the foundations’ tax returns up to 2011.

The Hewlett and Packard foundations derive their income from the Hewlett-Packard computer empire, while Rockefeller Brothers’ funds come from merchant banking.

The private foundations in turn bankroll a vast network of organisations which advance the interests of the foundations.

For example, a $US50,000 grant from the Park Foundation funded the New York Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) for “continuation of its widespread public education campaign on the issue of gas drilling in New York”; and a $US200,000 grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation went to the Union of Concerned Scientists “for coal retirement and removing market barriers to renewable energy projects”.

The private foundations also bankroll public charities. In the United States, public charities do not have to disclose their donors, making them an attractive destination for people wanting to hide their activities.

Among the public charities that have received funds from the foundations are a range of extreme environmental organisations, including the Tides Foundation, Energy Foundation, Climate Works Foundation and the Sustainable Markets Foundation.

Other U.S. public charities represent themselves as activists, such as the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, the League of Conservation Voters, Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, the National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund. Each of these has also been a recipient of donations from the Billionaires Club.

A focus of these activities is to influence and publicly back the activities of the U.S. Government’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and there is a constant flow of people from the environmental organisations into the EPA, and vice-versa.

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