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March 22, 2004
The Left Tastes MoveOn's Meddling, a thorn in the side to Republicans and the Bush Administration and the group most involved in the rise of Howard Dean, has branched out from presidential politics to involve itself in environmentalism. However, not all of the environmentalists are happy about this turn of events at the Sierra Club -- and MoveOn isn't the only outside group agitating there:

The Southern Poverty Law Center is known for fighting hate groups but is not usually a player in environmental politics. Neither is the neo-Nazi group White Politics Inc. But in the Sierra Club's current board elections, they are just two of a potpourri of groups seeking to influence the outcome of a contest that could radically reshape the 112-year-old organization. ...

The controversy centers on three insurgent candidates, including former Colorado governor Richard Lamm (D), who are intent on curbing immigration to the United States in the name of environmentalism.

"I feel very strongly population and immigration is an environmental issue," Lamm said in an interview. "Sierra Club has avoided this issue for too long."

The battle has spawned at least three lawsuits, a flurry of mailings to members, as well as two outside groups devoted solely to shaping the future of the Sierra Club. The battle intensified last week when the Internet-based liberal advocacy group urged its members to help defeat the three insurgent candidates, triggering the latest in a series of complaints from both sides about the involvement of outside groups.

"I'm outraged that would get involved in the Sierra Club elections and others are as well," said Marcia Hanscom, who is allied with the anti-immigration cohort.

Both MoveOn and the SPLC want to prevent the Sierra Club, with its $83 million annual budget, from being hijacked by what it sees as a neo-Nazi movement. The anti-immigration people within the Sierra Club resent the intrusion of two outside political non-profits in what it sees as an internal issue for their own voters. What no one really disputes now is that outside money has been flooding into the Sierra Club's board elections.

In a way, the irony is laughable. These people who are decrying the flood of outside money are from the same part of the political spectrum who believe that George Soros should be allowed to buy the presidency, and who have no problem with MoveOn funding various 527s to purchase ads to that same purpose, such as the ones that compared Bush to Hitler. They're getting a taste of their own medicine in microcosm, and they're finding it rather bitter.

No one wants to see neo-Nazis take over anything -- but I don't know that Dick Lamm really qualifies as a neo-Nazi, either. I think everyone at the Sierra Club may be getting hysterical, which is also no great surprise for this Chicken Little organization of environmental hysterics, as well as MoveOn and the SPLC.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 22, 2004 5:51 AM

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