Left-Wing Megadonor Is Behind An Effort To Gut The Chamber Of Commerce For Not Being Green Enough

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A project of the left-wing nonprofit Tides Center is mounting a pressure campaign against large corporations to withdraw from the Chamber of Commerce (COC) because they believe the COC does not sufficiently support green policies.

Escape The Chamber (ETC) invites sympathetic employees of major COC members, like Amazon and Apple, to pressure executives to leave the COC by signing petitions and donating to ETC, according to ETC’s “escape plan.” The Tides Center provides fiscal sponsorship to an organization called ClimateVoice, which launched ETC to pressure major companies to withdraw from the COC via a public statement that includes “commitments to make change,” according to the strategy document.

ETC accuses the COC of perpetuating “a steady pattern of climate obstruction,” exemplified by supposedly lobbying against the massive green subsidies included in the Inflation Reduction Act, opposing the Environmental Protection Agency’s stringent proposed standards for methane emissions and power plants, supporting permitting reform and backing ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, according to ETC’s website. (RELATED: American Liberal Elites Bankroll Org That’s Supporting A Global Network Of Law-Breaking Climate Activists)

“The Chamber has been a forceful advocate for climate solutions through investments in innovation, technology, and resiliency,” Marty Durbin, senior vice president for policy for the COC, said in a statement shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We work closely with our members as they invest billions of dollars to help meet ambitious climate goals,” Durbin continued, adding that “we look forward to continuing to support our many members that are advancing climate progress.”

The Chamber plans to send a sizable delegation to the upcoming United Nations COP28 climate change conference, Durbin added.

Beyond withdrawal from the COC, ETC is also seeking to pressure companies into donating money to environmentalist political causes and  to “advocate strongly for pro-climate policies” at the local, state and federal levels, according to its “escape plan” strategy document.

ETC is a campaign directed by an organization called ClimateVoice, according to Climate Voice’s website. ClimateVoice’s mission is to “leverage the power of corporate influence” to effectuate environmentalist and anti-fossil fuel policies, according to its website.

ClimateVoice’s founder, Bill Weihl, said that corporations “need to know that people see the misalignment and hypocrisy in their complicity with the Chamber,” according to The Washington Post.

“We believe that weakening trade associations’ power to obstruct progress is a critical lever, opening up space for pro-climate companies to proactively support bold climate action and accelerate the pace of change at all levels of government,” ClimateVoice wrote in an August newsletter highlighting ETC’s launch.

ClimateVoice is itself a fiscally-sponsored project of the nonprofit organization Tides Center, according to ClimateVoice’s website. Tides Center provides support to numerous left-wing and social justice-focused groups like ClimateVoice, which then use that support to achieve their aims, according to the Tides Foundation website.

Distinct from a funder, a fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit that provides financial management, fiduciary oversight and other forms of administrative assistance to another charitable project in order to help build out its capacity before it gains tax-exempt status, according to the National Council of Nonprofits.

Tides Center, an incubator for left-wing causes providing fiscal sponsorship, is related to the left-wing nonprofit Tides Foundation, an organization which funds and supports left-wing advocacy groups. Tides Foundation has provided support organizations committed to advancing left-wing causes such as “restorative justice,” policy favoring Palestine, “environmental justice” and anti-racism, according to Tides Foundation’s website.

Tides Foundation established the Tides Center in 1996 in order to support left-wing nonprofit activities, and it has provided fiscal sponsorship for hundreds of organizations since its inception, according to Tides Foundation’s website. Tides Center doled out nearly $80 million in 2021 alone, according to tax records from that year.

The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation has operated under the Tides Center’s umbrella since July 2020, according to legal documents filed that month detailing the organization’s transition to Tides Center’s fiscal sponsorship. That organization called on Congress to defund the police and also advocated for a pause on anti-domestic terrorism legislation in 2021, on the basis that such a law is racist, according to its website.

“It seems likely one reason the Tides Foundation created the Tides Center was for additional legal protection from liability” incurred by activist groups it supports, Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, told the DCNF, adding that “Tides Foundation was doing the same things the Tides Center does now before the latter was created.”

The broader Tides network is a pioneer in “donor advised funds,” a strategy that allows donors to provide funds to a desired cause or organization using Tides as an intermediary, according to Tides Foundation’s website.

“All donor-advised fund providers allow donors to anonymize their giving, and the Tides Foundation was the first such provider created for an ideological division of donors,” Walter continued. “Its founder said it was created to help a wealthy couple who wished not to reveal their giving to a left-wing activist group.”

ClimateVoice, which handles inquiries for ETC, and Tides Foundation did not respond immediately to requests for comment. Tides Center could not be reached for comment.

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