The call comes in the wake of a two-day just-completed marathon on the Senate floor condemning dozens of conservative and free-market policy groups for not endorsing the global warming theory.
“The Senators took to the Senate floor and for two days claimed that many of the groups hold the views they do because they are paid to do so by a variety of businesses and philanthropic foundations,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “The Senators’ presentations were rife wife errors, including a failure to even remotely prove their false charges, but that’s not the worst of it. The Senators’ goal is to crush the free speech rights of these organizations and help set them up for prosecution for their views. Furthermore, it’s likely the Senators are being hypocritical.”
The Senators listed the names of large donors to some of the groups while making the unsubstantiated charge that the donors would benefit financially if bills and regulations favored by the Senators are not adopted.
If they are not hypocrites, Ridenour said, the Senators should:
2. Make these accusations in a public venue outside the Senate floor, where the Senators by law are protected from the libel laws. The Senators should make their accusations while subject to the same libel laws as every other American.
3. The Senators should list all the donors they have, and their supporting organizations have, that have a conflict of interest on this issue. These include donors that have received or have applied to receive taxpayer support for so-called ‘green’ energy technologies or who stand to profit in any way from new laws, regulations or treaties ostensibly intended to combat global warming.
The Senators’ marathon comes following increasing scrutiny of left-wing efforts to shut down speech with which it disagrees.
A new book by Wall Street Journal writer Kimberley Strassel, “The Intimidation Game: How the Left is Silencing Free Speech (Hachette Book Group),” is dedicated solely to this relatively new phenomenon. The book’s 24 chapters each are dedicated to a different way the left seeks to shut down free expression by those who do not share its views.
A full chapter of the book covers efforts by the National Center for Public Policy Research since 2007 to combat shareholder proposals by left-wing unions and groups that would restrict publicly-held corporations from working with centrist or conservative/free-market organizations while continuing to work with, and seek advice from, those on the left.
“The Senate marathon was organized by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who has introduced a Senate resolution calling on groups not to defend themselves if liberal state attorneys general accuse them of presenting their point of view,” said Ridenour. “This is America in 2016.”
The Canadian skeptic-attack blog DeSmogBlog, credited with being an early adopter of the term “denier,” calling it an intentional reference to identify skeptics with people who deny the existence of the holocaust and thus intended to associate disagreement with the global warming theory with immorality, identified participating Senators as Ed Markey (D-MA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Bernie Sanders (S-VT) and Al Franken (D-MN).
DeSmogBlog, sensitive to the donations made by others, was founded with funds from John Lefebvre, an online casino businessman subsequently convicted of a money-laundering felony in the United States (as reported by James M. Taylor of the Heartland Institute and many others).
The allegation that no organization would disagree with the left on climate change unless it was paid to do so comes as the American public, presumably unpaid, is increasingly skeptical that global warming is anything to worry about.
Michael Bastasch of the Daily Caller collected polls on the issue in 2016, reporting that a YouGov poll found “only 9.2 percent of Americans rank global warming as their biggest concern”; a “Fox News poll from December found only 3 percent of Americans polled listed global warming as their top concern,” and “a CNN poll from January 2015 found that 57 percent of Americans did not expect global warming to threaten their way of life.”
“The National Center for Public Policy Research is listed as one of the so-called ‘denier’ organizations,” said Ridenour, “but was not singled out for attack by the Senators on this occasion, perhaps because it receives 96 percent of its funding in small gifts from individuals and is not receiving any climate-related funding from large donors. The National Center did receive funding from ExxonMobil for some years until 8 years ago, when ExxonMobil told us the funding would be discontinued unless we joined with the liberals and adopted the alarmist position on global warming. We obviously declined, and have not received funding since. We did make this public. As our entire funding mechanism and this story undermines the narrative of Senators Whitehouse and the others that climate ‘denier’ groups are being bribed to adopt a skeptical position, mentioning us would not have been useful to the liberal Senators.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.