Home > Uncategorized > NJ’s Green Grifters – Part One In A Series

NJ’s Green Grifters – Part One In A Series

NJ Audubon Is NJ’s Top Ranked Green Grift Operation

Recent $6 Million Dark Money Donor Just The Tip Of The Iceberg Of Corruption

Screen Shot 2022-11-21 at 5.21.22 PM

We begin this long overdue series with a spotlight on NJ Audubon Society (NJAS), because they are quantitatively by far the most greedy and egregious “Green Grifters” who most transparently and corruptly serve corporate interests and most consistently undermine and sell out conservation values and the public interest. But they are not alone. And Mike Catania’s model (Duke blood money) “Conservation Resources, Inc.” is right up there on the corporate influence and corruption scale.

We will name names and we will follow the money. We will illustrate examples of how that corporate money influenced the issues these conservation groups work on and the positions they take. We will provide links to all the documents that support our claims.

The corporate money also determines what issues these grifters don’t work on – for example, NJ Audubon never opposed the Penn East pipeline, fracking, or LNG export terminal. As a result of Dupont money, they never work on toxics in Delaware  River/Bay or wildlife. DEP abandoned proposed wildlife criteria, with no criticism or opposition.

The role of corporate money in influencing and outright co-opting NJ conservation groups has been a decades old problem, perhaps best illustrated by the dirty deal to forego cooling towers for the PSE&G south Jersey nuclear plants. That deal saved PSE&G billions.

Another blatant corrupt example is deal in support of the PSE&G Susquehanna – Roseland transmission line through the Delaware Watergap and Highlands. [A reader just noted NJAS hypocrisy, because a top killer of bald eagles is electrocution.]

But what we are witnessing today is quantitatively and qualitatively different and expressly corrupt.

NJ’s Green Grifters have dramatically changed the entire landscape of NJ’s environmental activism and policy advocacy over the last 25 years.

Through a conscious strategy that relied on: 1) the increasing influence of corporate money (e.g. see NJAS Annual Reports for tons of corporate funding, including PSE&G and Orsted $), 2) corporate Board appointments, 3) corporate staffing, 4) wealthy donors, 5) elite Foundation grants, 6) DEP “partnerships”, DEP grants and Stakeholder processes (including millions in State contracts, e.g. see ducks), 7) Gov. Office, BPU, and DEP revolving door staff appointments, a form of “brood parasitism”, 8) Trenton Gubernatorial cover and legislative capture (e.g multiple press conferences with Governor Murphy and Senator Smith’s Forestry Task Force), 9) inter-locking and self promoting coalitions, self dealing, log rolling, and astroturfing, and 10) a coordinated strategy of inter-locking Boards of directors and financial campaigns, these Green Grifters have drown out and virtually destroyed NJ’s long tradition of aggressive environmental advocacy and activism. It’s dead. Period.

With federal education money and PSE&G funding, NJAS are even indoctrinating our kids: the kids are not being taught civics, inspired to be the virtuous citizen, and introduced to the history of environmental activism. Instead, they are being told how to raise money, and for a corporate greenwashing slogan, not a program based on science and law!

And PSE&G gets all the good press they pay for, with greenwashing headlines like this:

In place of NJ’s tradition of aggressive activism is a corporate friendly agenda that emphasizes a set of voluntary, local, and market based incremental and slogans and symbolic feel good measures that award winning writer Chris Hedges calls elite boutique activism.

We now get a lot of toothless crap that sounds good. Or other voluntary projects that actually undermine regulatory protections. 

There was the unforgivable theft of environmental and State Parks money by the “Keep It Green” Coalition – a $1 million+ campaign to mislead NJ voters, with funds benefiting friends, family members, and fellow grifter contractors and consultants.

In place of NJ’s environmental community’s multi-organizational political electoral endorsement process, these same Green Grifter groups founded and funded and sit on the Board of the fraud that parades under the name “NJ League Of Conservation Voters” (NJ LCV)..

As I’ve written, NJ LCV was created with an express intent to replace the voice and political and media power of Sierra Club’s Jeff Tittel. Carleton Montgomery of the Pinelands Preservation Alliance brags on his website bio that he was a founder of NJ LCV. Look at all their Boards of Direcors and note the overlapping memberships and interests.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves – let’s get back to the narrower focus of today’s initial post, NJAS. We’ll deliver the receipts on all this in future posts in this series.

NJAS is the group that openly bragged about a greenwashing “partnership” with Donald Trump at his Bedminster NJ golf course. As far as I know, they never repudiated or apologized for that relationship.

NJAS is the group that openly celebrated their “Corporate Stewardship Council”, with funding from some of NJ biggest corporate polluters and developers and greenwashers.

NJAS is the group that made a U-Turn and reversed their position of support for preservation of large intact blocks of Highlands forests and maximizing canopy cover, to supporting logging those same forests.

NJAS is the group that misled the public and lied about logging public forests.

NJAS is the group that gladly accepted $330,000 from Wall Street billionaire and owner of the bird slaughtering hunting compound known as Hudson Farm. Incredibly, that private money was dedicated to drafting a Forest Management Plan for logging publicly owned State forests in the Sparta Mountain WMA, in the heart of the protected NJ Highlands. And the same billionaire funded joint DEP conservation community junkets.

NJAS is the group that sought and accepted $830,000 of COVID PPP “forgivable loans” (grants), despite an endowment of millions of dollars, million dollar annual budget surpluses, and a dedicated revenue stream that was not impacted by COVID. Not one NJAS employee was laid off, and not one suffered a reduction in their high salaries and benefits. Pure greed prompted their COVID PPP money grab, which could have gone to real people in need.

NJAS is the group that engages in grossly unethical conflicts of interest, whereby their former head of NJAS Corporate Stewardship Council and the champion of logging NJ public forests, John Cecil, is now Murphy DEP Assistant Commissioner with power over the fate of those forests, and the revolving door swung open whereby NJ DEP’s former head of Science and Research, Eileen Murphy, is now NJAS head of Trenton lobbying. You really can’t make this stuff up.

NJAS is the group that hired a former Exxon-Mobile “biostitute” as CEO.

Repeat: the current CEO of NJAS was a former Exxon-Mobil “scientist”. Exxon Mobil joined NJAS’ “Corporate Stewardship Council” (and became a corporate donor) AFTER NJAS hired their employee.

NJAS tentacles (and their corporate backers) are everywhere:

 In the bird world, this practice is known as “brood parasitism”.

NJAS even works the Gov.’s wife, Tammy!!

But today’s NJAS fundraising email on their $13 million SOAR fundraising campaign is so over the top and so illustrative. (see above) in prompted this long overdue series. A six million dollar dark money donation should trigger all sorts of red flags.

But so is the prior NJAS fundraising email I got about a ZEISS  optics sale – for sophisticated optical equipment  that cost more than I – and millions of NJ resident – spend on food for 6 months!

And so is the prior NJAS fundraising email I got about incredibly carbon intensive luxury “eco-tourism” tours. More than I spend in 6 months!

And so is the prior NJAS fundraising email urging support for federal legislation that would appropriate more funding to them.

NJAS is the group that advocates for Delaware Watershed funding that they would benefit from:

  • Action Alert: Please Help Protect the Delaware River Basin:

Since first appropriated in FY18 at $5 million, the Program has now grown in funding to $10.5 million in FY22. This year, New Jersey Audubon and the Coalition for the Delaware River Watershed is urging Congress to increase funding to $13.5 million to address key issues facing the future of the Delaware River Basin. Act now to increase federal investment in New Jersey and throughout the watershed.

The core component of the Program is competitive grants through the Delaware Watershed Conservation Fund, a program administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is as corporate dominated and corrupt as NJAS. Just LOOK at all those corporate partners!

NJAS is a group that issues an”Action Alert” that left out the fact that they receive funding the the Delaware Watershed Fund and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

And NJAS is a group that didn’t mention that those funds are in addition to receiving some of the Wm. Penn Foundations’ $100 million Watershed initiative.

And NJAS is a group that does virtually nothing on real Delaware Watershed water quality issues – from land use to toxic discharges and regulation under the Clean Water Act’s SWQS, WQMP, NPDES, and  TMDL programs (you can Google the acronyms!) Dupont “Clear Into The Future” funding is behind that abdication, see:

NJAS only supports politically safe bi-partisan federal legislation that provides funding to them.

Look closely at anything NJAS does, and you will find a corporate interests or a financial benefit to them.

That’s not conservation, that’s corruption. And it is all done right in the open.

(Part II will name the number 2 and 3 Green Grifters Groups – and if you have any dirt, give is a holler!)

[End Note: – A reader sent this, which is consistent with the pro-hunter relationships with NJAS logging projects:

They partnered with Wildlife Management Institute for CARA  –Conservation Reinvestment Act – that was back in the nineties and they wanted massive amounts of federal taxpayer dollars to be divided among hunters and so called non game programs. But the lion’s share went to hunters and to conservation education which by the way could not be negative toward hunting. That was the National Audubon but  affiliated  New Jersey Audubon was the co-director along with a NJDFW of Teaming  with Wildlife in NJ, which ushered in increased tightly coordinated power between most Audubons and the hunting community and not a single animal group paid attention to it.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
You must be logged in to post a comment.