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Lisa Finaldi is the former National Campaigns Director for Greenpeace US.

The Center for Public Integrity, in collaboration with Global Integrity and Public Radio International, just released an eye-opening “State Integrity Investigation” that assesses all states’ transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms. The data-driven ranking system gave five states a B grade; 19 states received a C; 18 states received a D; and eight states earned an F. North Carolina received a C- and is a featured example in the investigation – conflicts of interest in the billboard law as well as the lack of sanctions for lobbyists who fail to register. Read More

Desmogblog.com has released a series of documents from the conservative Heartland Institute that exposes their 2012 climate skeptics program and their major donors, many of whom had requested anonymity. This is a rare window into the world of the most conservative policy thinkers in our country.

According to the documents, Heartland views itself as playing a leading role in preventing “the implementation of dangerous policy actions to address the supposed risks of global warming.” A new program for 2012 focuses on creating K-12 curriculum because “principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.” The Charles Koch Foundation, a major supporter of efforts to kill national climate policy, gave $200,000 to Heartland in 2011. Heartland is looking for an increase in 2012 and access to the Koch’s “network of philanthropists, if our focus continues to align with their interests.”

The Heartland fundraising strategy exposes donors, many that requested anonymity.  While the US Chamber of Commerce is a supporter, you’d expect that. Here’s a few more unexpected donors:

In North Carolina, the chairman of BB&T is a donor as is GlaxoSmithKline headquartered in RTP. John Allison, Chairman of BB&T and a Wake Forest University Distinguished Professor of Practice in the Business School contributed $16,000 to Heartland in 2010, $0 in 2011 and Heartland is looking to Allison for $25,000 this year.

GlaxoSmithKline gave a total of $50,000 in 2010/2011, and according to the New York Times, a spokesperson for the company said the funding was for Medical News a monthly newsletter for Heartland Institute members. The Heartland Institute’s “Consumers for Health Care Choices” program states “We believe Obamacare …… ought to be repealed and replaced.” Other pharmaceutical companies also contributed to Heartland over the past two years – Eli Lilly (25k in 2010), Pfizer ($130k in 2010), PhRMA (20k in 2010).

The Heartland Institute works on a variety of issues from the environment to education, health care, to the federal budget. These documents are worth a read for progressive activists as we gear up for this year’s election and the policy issues that will be debated alongside.

Oh and here’s Heartland’s lame response to the documents being released by Desmogblog.com

 

The NC League of Conservation Voters and the national League of Conservation Voters issued its 2011 National Environmental Scorecard this week, ranking the North Carolina Congressional delegation on environmental issues. There were no surprises with Senator Kay Hagan receiving a perfect score and Representative Virginia Foxx receiving the lowest score.

The group said 2011 revealed the most anti-environmental session in history of the US House but the Senate and the Obama administration stood up against the assault on environmental laws and public health safeguards, stopping many dangerous bills.  Republicans ranked lowest with Burr, McHenry, Myrick and Ellmers scoring in the single digits.