How The Left Hijacked Charity: Pew Charitable Trusts II

Common Core, Wild Environmental Extremism, and Research with Intent to Lobby – P.U.! Oil Money Run Amok

3rd in a Series

By John Corrigan


(TUSCAN, AZ.) When you think of Big Government, does Common Core come to mind? Perhaps the most reviled of all the education related reforms of the past decades, Common Core’s agenda is one of elites who know better imposing standards on local boards of education and school children, resented by millions, and thus far, the results have been far from positive for schools as local control is further eroded into a national testing system.

When Joseph N. Pew and his family started the Pew Foundation, it’s express purpose was to fight the Big Government Agenda that the Pew’s detested as part of FDR’s New Deal. They believed Big Government mandates hurt individual freedom and wound the capitalist system.  It would cause the Pews to roll over in their graves if they knew the money that they put aside for the purpose of limiting government went to impose Big Education on local schools, but that is exactly what happened.

But Common Core has come to fruition in large part due to the misanthropy of Big Business, including the Pew Charitable Trusts, who donated $598,798 over three years to the Common Core Initiative of the Council for a Strong America, one of the Big Business groups that pushed Common Core.  

This series is about mission creep, and how foundations sometimes lose their way.  When you think of the original Pew founding mission to “acquaint the American people……. with…. the evils of bureaucracy” the testing regime and lack of local control of education curriculum associated with Common Core sure looks like mission creep.

Have you ever heard of the radical Center for Biological Diversity?  That group of fun lovers has as its mission the limitation of “Human activity” and the enforcement of the Endangered Species Act according to its IRS filing: “to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters and climate that species needs to survive.”

Pew is a funder of this group. If you value spotted owls over humans, snail darters over children, and not allowing for the collection of firewood to heat the homes of Americans, the Center is the place for you.  Pew’s funding of the group, considered radical by conservatives and liberals alike shows more of its mission creep.

Most curious is the apparently self-defeating push funded by the Pew Trusts towards destroying the American coal and natural gas industry. Of course, Joseph N. Pew founded Sun Oil (SUNOCO) on oil and gas exploration, but his hard-earned money and that of his children are being used to actively destroy the very industry that he helped to create.

The Pew Trusts are funding radical leftist organizations like Earth First, The Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club to the tune of millions of petrodollars annually. Since 2012, Pew Trust has entrusted $3.9 million to these anti-fracking, oil, and natural gas advocacy groups, who often employ radical Saul Alinsky-style tactics to draw attention to their causes. The official newsletter of Earth First says that it is a “radical” organization.

Even more eye popping, the money showered on a group called The Energy Foundation, a neutral moniker for a group that works to take developable and energy-rich land out of private hands, and sell it to the Federal Government to curb mining and oil and gas exploration.  $4,947,600 of energy explorer Joe Pew’s money has been donated by the Pew Trusts since 1997.  While these are less profile donations that prove mission creep from an anti-regulatory group to a liberal advocacy trust, of note is the Trust’s public work as a for-profit provider of research to go with liberal advocacy, its hiring of lobbyists and taking of funds from lobbying groups to wrap liberal causes under the Pew brand.  

Pew’s Trusts do some lobbying.  The firm that handles part of Pew’s lobbying efforts was started by the staffers of the late U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone (DFL-MN) [lifetime approval rating of 4% by American Conservative Union; the AFL-CIO named an award for him for public service). Grassroots Solutions focuses on anti “voter suppression” movements (read: voter laws with little safeguards against cheating), anti-oil, gas, and coal usage (pity Joseph Pew), social and economic justice for LGBTQ people, among other advocacies.

Pew paid Grassroots Solutions $8.9 million in fees from 2012-15. That is a lot of lobbying. Most of the lobbying group’s clients are labor unions and Clinton Campaign Manager John Podesta’s Center for American Progress.

Some of the lobbying goes to increasing CAFÉ Standards for American automobiles.  CAFÉ Standards are the corporate average fuel economy of a fleet of vehicles made by automobile manufacturers.  The Obama Administration, substantially raised the CAFÉ standards, with Pew lobbying support, to levels that are thought to currently be unattainable for the automakers. So much so that the Trump Administration is ratcheting back some of the requirements.

Of course, the increased CAFÉ standards call for vehicles to use less gasoline.  This is the very products that SUNOCO, the Pew Family business, manufacturerd among other oil related products.  

From radical anti-development environmental advocacy to attacks on the very products that fund the Pew Trusts, Pew is a leading example of what happens at Foundations that alter the original intent of good-hearted capitalists who turn the reigns of their Foundations to Liberal Managers, and the resulting mission creep.

Next up in our series, we will “go further” with the Ford Foundation. This is not your father’s Edsel, nor even Edsel Ford’s Edsel.