“Donor-Based Government”: Foreign Money Tied To Climate Lawsuits

Inside Sources cited CEI’s Senior Fellow Christopher Horner on “Law Enforcement for Rent” report.

According to records obtained by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), major environmentalist groups pursuing lawsuits against Exxon Mobil and other oil companies received donations from foundations based in Europe. This includes legal action on behalf of local governments who are pursuing these cases.  The paper, which as the result of years of research, documents “an extensive and elaborate campaign using elective law enforcement offices, in coordination with major donors and activist pressure groups, to attain a policy agenda that failed through the democratic process.”

Starting in 2012, environmentalist groups began flying staff from state attorneys general offices to special briefings “with ‘prospective funders’ about ‘potential state causes of action against major carbon producers.’” While this meeting has long been reported, the information uncovered by CEI reveals how this system morphed into one where private donors funded a network of “pro bono” attorneys and public relations services.


“This is the most dangerous example of a modus operandi we have found: it uses nonprofit organizations as pass-through entities by which donors can support elected officials to, in turn, use their offices to advance a specific set of policies favored by said donors,” writes environmental attorney Christopher Horner, a senior fellow at CEI. “It also uses resources that legislatures will not provide and that donors cannot legally provide directly. The budget for climate policy work alone is in the tens of millions of dollars per year.”

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