The Free Beacon has a bombshell report linking major donations – millions and millions of dollars – to groups like the Sierra Club and the Natural Resource Defense Council to a Bermuda law firm which represents Russian interests.
Russia, of course, has a big interest in fighting American energy development. Shale oil and gas plays in America are major competition for the Russians. If the Russians can hamstring American energy companies by energizing environmental activists, that’s probably a sound investment for them.
Though you have to acknowledge the irony in environmentalists going to war with one group of fossil fuel energy producers on behalf of another.
What impact does this have on North Dakota? It’s hard to say. The two most active groups in environmental activism in the state are the Sierra Club and the Dakota Resource Council.
The Free Beacon report details millions of dollars in contributions from Russian interests to the Sierra Club, but what about the DRC?
It’s clear that the DRC works closely with the Natural Resources Defense Council. The two groups were side-by-side in a lawsuit over the Keystone XL pipeline, among other projects.
And then there’s the matter of the DRC’s opaque funding.
The DRC is a bit of an astroturf group. According to their latest Form 990 (a disclosure non-profit groups are required to file with the IRS, see it below) the group took in $338,155 in revenues in 2013, but just 6.6 percent or $22,365 was from membership dues and fundraising events. The rest was a giant lump some categorized as grants and other revenues.
The amount taken in from membership dues and fundraising events was less than half the $49,800 yearly salary the group’s only disclosed employee – Don Morrison – receives in annual salary.
The DRC describes itself on its website as “a nonprofit, grassroots activist organization.” If that’s true, where are all the membership dues and fundraising revenues?
The DRC is often described as a “landowner group” in the media, but how many landowners are really members when the group gets almost zero dollars from fundraising or membership dues?
Where is the rest of the money coming from?
Maybe it’s filtering in from Russia.