* Environmentalist lobbying organization devoted to “shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House”
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) calls itself “the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House.” Founded in 1969 by veteran environmentalist David Brower, this organization works to defeat what it calls “anti-environment” candidates running for political office and elect those candidates it believes are contributing to the welfare of the environment. Though LCV claims to be nonpartisan, its support is reserved almost exclusively for left-of-center Democrats.
LCV promotes its agenda through the publication and distribution of its National Environmental Scorecard and its Presidential Report Card. According to LCV, the Scorecard “provides objective, factual information” about the environmental voting records of all Members of Congress. On the LCV Scorecard, the mean scores for Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are under 15 percent (in a 100 percent rating scale). By contrast, Democrats in the House and Senate score 70 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
In January 2004, LCV endorsed Democratic Senator John Kerry for U.S. President. Mr. Kerry’s wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry, is Chair of the Howard Heinz Endowment and a Board Member of both the Vira I. Heinz Endowment and the Heinz Family Foundation. These foundations have funded LCV. In addition, at least four members of the LCV Board of Directors lead other environmental groups that received more than $1 million from the Heinz philanthropies between 2001 and 2003.
LCV’s 2003 Presidential Report Card gave George W. Bush the first “F” grade ever handed out by the group. “Bush’s dismal Report Card,” stated LCV president Deb Callahan, “is dominated by a disturbing trend: time after time, Bush favors corporate interests over the public’s interest in a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Under the Bush administration, corporate polluters have been allowed to write the laws.”
LCV Chairman Bill Roberts also serves as Executive Director of the Beldon Fund, which gave LCV $2.28 million in grants between 2001 and 2003. Since 9/11, Roberts has sought to direct America’s attention away from the war on terror, and toward what he perceives as the even more important battle to save the environment. “One thing the [9/11] attack did not do,” Roberts said, “was alter the persistent importance of environmental issues to people and the planet. … Global warming, toxic pollution, lost biodiversity, and a long list of other environmental threats did not go away on September 11.”
The California chapter of LCV endorsed a May 1, 2003 document titled “10 Reasons Environmentalists Oppose an Attack on Iraq,” which was published by Environmentalists Against War.
LCV has received funding from the Bauman Family Foundation; the Beldon Fund; the Blue Moon Fund; the Bullitt Foundation; the Compton Foundation; the Educational Foundation of America; the Nathan Cummings Foundation; the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; the Joyce Foundation; the J.M. Kaplan Fund; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Scherman Foundation; the Surdna Foundation; the Turner Foundation; the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation; the New-Land Foundation; and numerous others.
The LCV Board of Directors includes officials of the Beldon Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense, Friends of the Earth (Brent Blackwelder), the Wilderness Society, and the Center for American Progress (John D. Podesta).
October 10, 2012