What Darren Samuelsohn won't tell you (Politico, Sierra Club, immigration)
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Environmentalists are getting off the sidelines and backing immigration reform - but it wasn't easy.
During the Senate's last go round on the issue in 2007, greens stayed silent to avoid airing their dirty laundry - an internal dispute that some in the movement feared would be seen as racist.
Their family feud was so rough that it twice nearly ruptured the Sierra Club when a vocal faction - including some of the movement's leading luminaries - argued too many new immigrants living the American dream could spell doom for the planet.
...Both votes [in 1998 and 2004] raised difficult questions about race. The Los Angeles Times reported before the final 1998 vote that some greens worried that the Sierra Club taking an anti-immigration position "would expose the club to charges of racism and elitism and alienate politicians who have been friends on such issues as logging and wetlands protection."
"Concerns about perception were well founded," explained a former Sierra Club official active in the 2004 fight. "And I think they still haunt the organization."
The Sierra Club's critics say the environmental group has skirted population issues because it doesn't want to anger some of its largest donors. They say the group now is just shilling to win more Democratic voters...
Now, for what Darren Samuelsohn won't tell you. In 2001 the Sierra Club took a $101.5 million donation from one donor with the implied condition that opposing mass immigration would turn off future donations from that same donor. (More recently, the Sierra Club also got paid off to promote natural gas). See Sierra Club for more on them.
Please take a moment and write @dsamuelsohn, asking him why he didn't mention such a huge payoff and the habit the Sierra Club has of supporting positions they're paid to support.