by Andrew F. Quinlan
As appearing in The Detroit News
Cronyism isn’t popular these days. It never really has been, but growth in public awareness of the problem has forced special interests to get more creative in how they approach their rent-seeking. So it comes as no surprise to see a new report outlining how billionaires such as Michael Bloomberg have co-opted the Sierra Club to serve as proxy advocates for their personal business interests.
It’s no secret these “green” billionaires are in the game to make money. They are at the forefront of investing in upstart green companies, many of which need government support in order to survive. It now appears that in addition to giving money directly to politicians to gain favors, benefits and handouts for their favorite investments, they have also hijacked non-profit environmental groups for their benefit.
A new report released recently from the Energy & Environment Legal Institute documents how the Sierra Club’s largest donors accrue economic benefits from the activities of the environmental conservation group. Taking advantage of the club’s reputation as a steward of the environment, they’ve funneled millions into efforts to shut down traditional energy sources in order to benefit their own economic interests and investments.