As Washington Gov. Jay Inslee comes to Capitol Hill Tuesday to teach us “lessons from across the nation: state and local action to combat climate change”, public records — including some released here for the first time — offer the public a few eye-opening lessons about what Gov. Jay Inslee has been up to.
Ten Questions for Climate Industry Entrepreneur of the Year, Gov. Jay Inslee
Gov. Inslee, public records demonstrate your remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, unique in the Climate Industry. This manifests itself in, e.g., the serial announcement of ‘groups’ that, while they generally do not in fact exist (they are websites), do somehow have millions of dollars worth of consultants, lawyers and report-writers to promote your ‘leadership’ on a matter you have adopted as your signature issue.
Sometimes the money is from donors — e.g., the multi-million dollar websites “US Climate Alliance” and Governors Climate Alliance — and sometimes the money is taken from taxpayers — “Pacific Coast Collaborative” and the the campaign to tell the “West Coast Story”.
Always, however, these enterprises are dedicated to promoting Gov. Jay Inslee’s climate ‘leadership’, with lots of staff, public relations and other and consultants. Indeed, they seem to be dedicated to promoting Jay Inslee, “his climate profile” and his ambitions.
Public records show that you have contracted out your office as a consultant for an environmentalist pressure group, World Resources Institute (WRI), in at least two agreements providing hundreds of thousands of dollars of private underwriting for your use of the Office of the Governor.
These consulting arrangements include for you to use the Office of Governor “to perform those services described” for the client — specifically to “[t]ake forward new and existing policies” among other prescribed climate activism (Contract Number K2154); and, to engage in more advocacy as Governor on “issues and communications related to climate and clean energy policy development” (Contract Number K2575).
Public records also show that your Office is transferring hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in taxpayer money, including apparently a quarter of a million Washington State taxpayer dollars, to pay consultants also to promote your climate advocacy and platform (Contract Number K2191).
This entrepreneurship, unique even in the norm-busting Climate Industry, would be newsworthy in any year. It is particularly so this year. Your honored position, having your own panel before the powerful House Energy & Commerce Committee, affirms this.
Given this very deliberate and indeed unprecedented record of “profile-building”, these very same issues for which you have contracted the Governor’s office as a vendor, re-routed taxpayer money, and recruited donor funds to be routed through a non-profit, we have a few important questions, the answers to which should be of great public interest:
- Do you see any campaign finance-related or ethics issues with running donor money through a non-profit to develop and promote what turns out to have been your national “profile”?
- If not, is there something unique about your relationship with the Hewlett Foundation and United Nations Foundation, which provided these benefits for your climate policy campaigning? (e.g., Contract K2575; also, the US Climate Alliance your staff organized to be run out of the UN Foundation with, so far, at least $1,435,000 from Hewlett Foundation)
- Same questions, but about policy groups coordinating these donor efforts with your Office?
- Do you see any campaign-finance-related or ethics issues with contracting out one’s public office as a consultant to, e.g., the National Rifle Association, American Petroleum Institute, or National Right to Life, to “take forward new and existing policies” of interest to those non-profits? If not, is there something unique about your relationship with the Hewlett Foundation? (e.g., Contracts K2154, K2575)
- Do you see any campaign-finance-related or ethics issues with running taxpayer money through a consultancy to to develop and promote what turns out to have been your national “profile”? (e.g., Contract K2191)?
- What is the functional difference between what your US Climate Alliance partner Gov. Andrew Cuomo is under FBI investigation for doing, and what you are doing in redirecting at least a quarter million dollars of Washington State taxpayer money from various agencies’ budgets via Contract K2191? From the public record, the sole distinction appears to be that you are arranging for taxpayer money to pay non-state employees (consultants to promote your climate efforts), as opposed to paying in-office staff (Cuomo).
- Do you see it as an appropriate use of tax-exempt status for any non-profit policy group to contract with donors to hire non-staff ‘staff’ for elected officials? To allow donors to finance use of the non-profit’s staff to run an elected official’s advocacy campaign? Or, is there something unique about your relationship with the United Nations Foundation, which contracted with the Hewlett Foundation to finance the hiring of ‘staff’ for, subcontracting its own staff for, and running your “US Climate Alliance” with donor funding?
- Do you see it as an appropriate use of tax-exempt status for any activist donor group to directly provide six-figure report-writing services to elected officials, and the public relations services to promote them? Or is there something unique about your relationship with the Hewlett Foundation which provided these benefits for your climate policy campaigning?
- That is, do you see any campaign-finance-related or ethics issues with a public office-holder contracting out his office as a consultant by which, e.g., the National Rifle Association, American Petroleum Institute, or National Right to Life, hire, pay for and place an advisor in the elected official’s office?
- Your staff informed the Wall Street Journal editorial board that there was “no direct relationship to WA” between Hewlett Foundation money run through WRI and payment for your climate policy advisor, Reed Schuler. Your office copied your Policy Director Keith Phillips on the email. However, numerous public records show Mr. Phillips specifically boasted about Hewlett’s behind-the-scenes involvement in arranging for the placement and payment of your in-office climate policy advisor. Do you stand by the statement that your Office was unaware of the source of the funding, and/or that Hewlett was not in fact the source of activist funding of your policy “staff”?
Contracts obtained through FOI: