President Biden’s nominee To lead the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has previously been involved in a shadowy money-fueled effort to file numerous climate inconvenience lawsuits across the country.
Ann Carlson, who is currently the acting director of NHTSA, was previously a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles where she also served as co-director of the Emmett Institute for Climate Change and the Environment. During her time at the institute, she coordinated with its president, Dan Emmett, to raise money for lawsuits aimed at derailing the fossil fuel industry.
Carlson and Emmett disclosed details about their behind-the-scenes efforts to lead the litigation in email correspondence from 2017 and 2018 obtained by the Government Accountability and Oversight Group (GAO) and highlighted in Fox News Digital report last year. The two worked to raise money that was then funneled through nonprofit organizations to the private law firm of Sher Edling.
In their emails, Emmett and Carlson discuss how Chuck Savitt, Bashir Edling’s Director of Strategic Client Relationships, has sought Emmett’s support and has already received support from Terry Tamminen in his role as CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, a title he held between 2016 and 2019. Tammin now serves on the advisory board of the Emmett Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.
“Chuck Savitt who heads this new organization behind the lawsuits has been seeking our support,” Emmett wrote to Carlson on July 22, 2017.
Emmett also forwarded a letter Savitt had sent him three days earlier on July 19, 2017, asking for his support. Savitt mentioned in the previous email that Cher Edling’s first lawsuits were filed with the support of the Accountability, Resilience and Adaptation Collective Fund, a fund managed at the time. By dark money group Resource Legacy Fund (RLF).
“I want to let you know that we filed our first of three lawsuits with the support of the Caucus Fund on Monday,” Savitt told Emmett in the email. “These precedents call on 37 of the world’s leading fossil fuel companies to take responsibility for the devastating damage of sea level rise – caused by greenhouse gas emissions – to coastal communities.”
Sher Edling erased Savitt’s mention from his website two days after Fox News Digital first reported on the August emails.
The email correspondence between Carlson and Emmett took place two months before the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation publicly announced that it would contribute $20 million in grants to various climate and conservation causes. Group ad, which has been since It has been deleted but remains archivedincluding a grant to the RLF “to support legal action to set precedents to hold major corporations in the fossil fuel industry accountable,” closely mirroring Safett’s language.
And in 2018, records show, Carlson emailed Emmett asking if she could mention his and the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s participation in the fundraising scheme to other potential donors.
Emmett greenlighted the idea, adding that she could tell others that “Terry’s organization and I are serious supporters, that you are an advisor, that the science is out there, that it can do more for the environment than anything that happens if it works.”
In addition to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and the Emmett Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the JPB Foundation have contributed to the Collective Action Fund since 2017. The RLF Foundation, in turn, contributed more than $5.2 million to Sher Edling between 2017 and 2020, according to for the group’s tax returns during that period.
The RLF’s financial sponsorship of the Collective Action Fund was at that time I quietly switched to the New Venture Fund — a nonprofit incubator in the billion-dollar dark money network run by consulting firm Arabella Advisors — which sent Sher Edling $3 million in 2021 alone, additional tax returns show.
Overall, Sher Edling has filed lawsuits on behalf of the states of Delaware, Minnesota, Rhode Island, and New Jersey, and the cities of Washington, D.C., New York, Baltimore, Honolulu, and San Francisco, as well as many other cities and counties. nationally. The lawsuits allege that fossil fuel companies have waged deception campaigns about the science of climate change for decades.
“It’s clear that donors — including DiCaprio — have created several alleged lengths of arms,” Chris Horner, a lawyer who represented the Government Accountability Office in a case involving the emails, told Fox News Digital in August.
“This model used two passes, through which DiCaprio and Dan Emmett and others, it seems, could run things, including the DiCaprio Foundation and the Heritage Resource Fund, and they are not seen to be financing the attack,” Horner added.
The White House announced Monday that Carlson’s nomination to be director of NHTSA has been sent to the Senate for confirmation. NHTSA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.