Environmentalist lobbying organization devoted to “shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House”
The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) calls itself "the political voice of the national environmental movement and the only organization devoted full-time to shaping a pro-environment Congress and White House." Founded in 1969 by veteran environmentalist David Brower, this organization works to defeat what it calls "anti-environment" candidates running for political office and elect those candidates it believes are contributing to the welfare of the environment. Though LCV claims to be nonpartisan, its support is reserved almost exclusively for left-of-center Democrats.
LCV promotes its agenda through the publication and distribution of its National Environmental Scorecard and its Presidential Report Card. According to LCV, the Scorecard "provides objective, factual information” about the environmental voting records of all Members of Congress. On the LCV Scorecard, the mean scores for Republicans in both the House of Representatives and the Senate are under 15 percent (in a 100 percent rating scale). By contrast, Democrats in the House and Senate score 70 percent and 82 percent, respectively.
LCV's 2003 Presidential Report Card gave George W. Bush the first "F" grade ever handed out by the group. "Bush's dismal Report Card," stated LCV president Deb Callahan, "is dominated by a disturbing trend: time after time, Bush favors corporate interests over the public's interest in a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Under the Bush administration, corporate polluters have been allowed to write the laws."
LCV Chairman Bill Roberts also serves as Executive Director of the Beldon Fund, which gave LCV $2.28 million in grants between 2001 and 2003. Since 9/11, Roberts has sought to direct America's attention away from the war on terror, and toward what he perceives as the even more important battle to save the environment. "One thing the [9/11] attack did not do," Roberts said, "was alter the persistent importance of environmental issues to people and the planet. … Global warming, toxic pollution, lost biodiversity, and a long list of other environmental threats did not go away on September 11."
In June 2013, it was reported that LCV board chairman Scott Nathan was the manager of a Baupost Group hedge fund that invested heavily -- to the tune of some $700 million -- in the oil company BP. Nathan was also a member of the Baupost Group's management committee, which oversaw investments made by the hedge fund. LCV, which consistently opposes tax breaks and benefits to oil companies, and actively campaigns against proposals to open more areas to offshore drilling, was highly critical of BP during that company's Gulf Oil spill in 2010.