Who's behind the smears?
As you may recall, earlier this year a group of pro-borders challengers were trying to be elected to the board of the Sierra Club. For many years the Club had favored reduced immigration, but that policy was reversed several years ago. And, Carl Pope, the head of the Club mounted a vigorous and sleazy smear campaign against the challengers. Despite it somewhat backfiring (one of the challengers who'd been called a white supremacist or similar turned out to be black), the members of the Club bought the lies.
Now, the not-so-shocking truth that there was money at the root of Carl Pope's smears can be revealed. From the L.A. Times' "The Man Behind the Land":
In manner and appearance, David Gelbaum has maintained a low profile for someone who can afford to give away hundreds of millions of dollars...
In 2001, Gelbaum branched out with two back-to-back anonymous gifts to the Sierra Club Foundation that dwarfed all previous individual contributions to the club. The $101.5 million in donations led to a 10-fold increase in the club's Youth in Wilderness programs and expansion of many other club activities.
But the windfall caused a stir internally. Gelbaum's identity, known only to a few Sierra Club officials, became an issue in a bitter struggle for control of the club's board of directors.
A slate of candidates, which wanted the club to call for tighter controls on immigration to stabilize the U.S. population and its impact on the environment, demanded to know the source of the donations. The candidates contended that the club's leadership opposed their election partly because of pressure brought by the secret donor.
"Is this foreign money? Is it money that comes with special obligations? I would want to know I'm not running a laundry or being a front group for an entity that doesn't have the best interests of the United States at heart," said former Colorado Gov. David Lamm.
Lamm and other like-minded candidates were soundly defeated in a vote of club members last April, and the source of the money was not revealed...
...information led The Times to Gelbaum, who, with his brother, Daniel, sat on the Wildlands Conservancy's board of directors, along with Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope.
David Gelbaum insisted that he played no role in the election. He dismissed allegations that he is calling the shots at the club in any other way.
"None of that is true," he said. "I'm not some Svengali. I'm not that engaged."
But he said Pope long had known where he stood on the contentious issue. "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..."
And there you have it. I would hope - but I rather doubt - that this will lead to Pope resigning.
Previous coverage of the challenge in these links:
Guilty "liberals" at Sierra Club choose smears over fact has the results of the election.
"Sierra Club must save its soul" discusses Carl Pope's sleazy smear attempts on the challengers.
Truth must be ultimate weapon for Sierra Club calls the Sierra Club to task for its Open Borders policies.
"Anti-Immigration Candidates Sue Sierra Club Over Board Election" discusses the start of the challenge and the LAT's own smear attempt against it.
And, for a satire on the club's policies, see sierraclubbed.com.