U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Majority Fact of the Day

November 20, 2006

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) announced recently that the Sierra Club will pay a $28,000 civil penalty to settle charges for funding a brochure expressly advocating the election and defeat of candidates in the 2004 presidential and U.S. Senate races ( http://www.fec.gov/press/press2006/20061115mur.html ). A press release from the FEC states:

“At issue was a pamphlet distributed by the Sierra Club in Florida prior to the 2004 general election. The front of the pamphlet exhorted the reader to “LET YOUR CONSCIENCE BE YOUR GUIDE,” accompanied by various nature scenes. The heading of the interior of the pamphlet urged the reader, “AND LET YOUR VOTE BE YOUR VOICE.”

The pamphlet compared the environmental records of President Bush and Senator Kerry and U.S. Senate candidates Mel Martinez and Betty Castor through checkmarks and written narratives. Kerry received checkmarks in every box on all three environmental issues addressed in the pamphlet; Bush received only one checkmark in a single category, and in that category, Kerry received two checkmarks. In the Senate race, Castor received checkmarks in all three categories, while Martinez received none. The accompanying narratives made clear that a checkmark represented a favorable environmental record in the eyes of the Sierra Club. The Commission found that the pamphlet “expressly advocated” Kerry and Castor’s election and Bush and Martinez’s defeat.”

FACT: The Sierra Club’s $28,000 penalty is hardly surprising considering the well-established campaign tactics of liberal special interest groups. In 2003, the Washington Post revealed that George Soros met with Carl Pope and other Democrat operatives to discuss how Soros could contribute $5 million dollars to defeat President Bush and circumvent the prohibitions in McCain-Feingold. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A24179-2003Nov10?language=printer ). The Washington Post later reported on the use of 501c groups like the Sierra Club, and there use as “conduits for a steady stream of secretive cash flowing into the election, in many respects unaffected by the McCain-Feingold legislation enacted in 2002.” The Post specifically cites the Sierra Club’s Carl Pope, reporting, ( http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A52587-2004Sep26.html )

“Perhaps no one better illustrates the host of interlocking roles than Carl Pope, one of the most influential operatives on the Democratic side in the 2004 election. As executive director of the Sierra Club, a major 501c (4) environmental lobby, Pope also controls the Sierra Club Voter Education Fund, a 527. The Voter Education Fund 527 has raised $3.4 million this election cycle, with $2.4 million of that amount coming from the Sierra Club. A third group, the Sierra Club PAC, has since 1980 given $3.9 million to Democratic candidates and $173,602 to GOP candidates. These activities just touch the surface of Pope's political involvement. In 2002-03, Pope helped found two major 527 groups: America Votes, which has raised $1.9 million to coordinate the election activities of 32 liberal groups, and America Coming Together (ACT), which has a goal of raising more than $100 million to mobilize voters to cast ballots against Bush. Finally, Pope is treasurer of a new 501c (3) foundation, America's Families United, which reportedly has $15 million to distribute to voter mobilization groups.”

Carl Pope and these so-called “environmental groups” are simply Democrat political machines spending millions of dollars in contributions and expenditures each year for the purpose of raising more money to pursue a Democrat political agenda. Senator Inhofe spoke on the Floor of the United States Senate and the EPW Committee (Majority) released a Committee White Paper, “Political Activity Of Environmental Groups And Their Supporting Foundations,” ( http://epw.senate.gov/repwhitepapers/Political.pdf ) detailing the lengths these special interest groups will go to distort the truth in order to elect Democrats ( http://epw.senate.gov/speechitem.cfm?party=rep&id=227788 ).