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The Sierra Club received over $100 million in donations from David Gelbaum under the condition that they would no longer support limited immigration policies

Posted on 24-Sep-2013
Topics: Immigration Reform Lobby  

From SUSPS:

Since 1996, leaders of the Sierra Club have refused to admit that immigration driven, rapid U.S. population growth causes massive environmental problems. And they have refused to acknowledge the need to reduce U.S. immigration levels in order to stabilize the U.S. population and protect our natural resources. Their refusal to do what common sense says is best for the environment was a mystery for nearly a decade.

Then, on Oct. 27, 2004, the Los Angeles Times revealed the answer: David Gelbaum, a super rich donor, had demanded this position from the Sierra Club in return for huge donations! Kenneth Weiss, author of the LA Times article that broke the story, quoted what David Gelbaum said to Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

"I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."

In 1996 and again in 1998, the Club's leaders proved their loyalty to Gelbaum's position on immigration, first by enacting a policy of neutrality on immigration and then by aggressively opposing a referendum to overturn that policy. In 2000 and 2001, Gelbaum rewarded the Club with total donations to the Sierra Club Foundation exceeding $100 million. In 2004 and 2005, the Club's top leaders and management showed their gratitude for the donations by stifling dissent and vehemently opposing member efforts to enact an immigration reduction policy.

Mr. Gelbaum is entitled to restrict how his donations to the Sierra Club Foundation are spent. But he should NOT be permitted to influence how other members' dues or donations are spent or to dictate policy choices via the threat of withholding contributions. That is completely inappropriate.

Even worse, Sierra Club leaders accepted Gelbaum's conditions in secret and forced a modification of the Club's policy to conform to his wishes. Furthermore, Club leaders certainly shouldn't have misrepresented immigration reductionists as anti-immigrant or racist in order to guarantee Gelbaum's donations; there is nothing inherently racist or anti-immigrant about sustainable levels of immigration.

Worst of all, the U.S. population continues to grow by about 3 million people per year, of which nearly half are immigrants, and two-thirds of the growth is a result of immigration, if the children of immigrants are included. Our forests continue to be clearcut to provide construction materials, our groundwater is depleted to provide water for our growing population, we grow more and more dependent on foreign sources of oil, and we are unable to reduce our output of greenhouse gases, all thanks to our burgeoning population.

We don't like it when the oil, timber, coal, and nuclear power industries oppose environmental reform, yet we understand why they do it: for the love of money. Is it any better when the Sierra Club opposes environmental reform for the love of money?

Sources:

[1] "For the love of money", SUSPS, Date Unknown

[2] "Joe Guzzardi: The Sierra Club and the $100 Million Donation That Changed It Forever", Joe Guzzardi, Noozhawk, 17-Feb-2012

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