FIRST ON FOX: A fledgling dark money climate group poured millions of dollars last year into disruptive activist protests that blocked busy highways and destroyed famous artwork in cities across the world, according to tax filings obtained by Fox News Digital.
The Beverly Hills, California-based, Climate Emergency Fund (CEF) — which has been funded in large part by Hollywood actors and producers since it was founded in 2019 — raised $6.1 million in 2022, a 165% increase from the $2.3 million it raised in 2021, the tax filings showed. The sharp increase in funding led to CEF sending $5 million to left-wing protest groups, a 274% year-over-year increase.
“Climate Emergency Fund is proud to support some of the boldest, bravest climate activists in the world who are not just fighting but are winning,” Margaret Klein Salamon, CEF’s executive director, told Fox News Digital in a statement. “Throughout history, organized, passionate, and dedicated people have awakened the public’s conscience to injustice and achieved change that was once considered impossible.”
“That’s why the Climate Emergency Fund supports activist organizations that engage in non-violent protest and civil disobedience worldwide,” she said. “We are experiencing global catastrophic climate events, and they are accelerating – from the months-long summer heat waves in Europe to record-low levels of Antarctic sea ice to ocean temperatures that topped 100 degrees off the coast of Florida.”
Salamon added the evidence for action is “all around us” and that the world needs to race to zero emissions “as quickly as humanly possible.”
In CEF’s tax filings, the group stated that the activist organizations it supported last year “brought new life and vigor” to the climate movement. It further reported that its grantees trained more than 15,000 people, their protests included 47,000 people and their actions were covered by global media outlets 25,000 times.
The majority of CEF’s 2022 grants, approximately $4 million, were sent overseas, with the most sizable slice being wired to U.K. climate activists. The largest beneficiary of CEF’s funds appeared to be Just Stop Oil, a British activist group that has repeatedly made headlines for stopping traffic and disrupting public places across the U.K.
For example, members of Just Stop Oil made headlines late last year when they hurled tomato soup on a famous Vincent van Gogh painting at London’s National Gallery. Days earlier, dozens of its members blocked emergency service vehicles, including an ambulance, from driving to their destination during a separate protest.
“Human creativity and brilliance is on show in this gallery, yet our heritage is being destroyed by our Government’s failure to act on the climate and cost of living crisis,” Just Stop Oil said in a statement after the tomato soup protest.
CEF sent an additional $800,000 to other global groups like the France-based Dernière Rénovation, the Canada-based Save Old Growth and the Italy-based Ultima Generazione, all of which staged disruptive protests in 2022.
In the U.S., CEF signed grants worth $1 million to domestic groups that have used similar tactics as Just Stop Oil and called for President Biden to declare a “climate emergency.” The largest domestic grant appeared to be a $206,000 wire to the National Institute for Peer Support, which was earmarked for the group Extinction Rebellion.
While Biden has focused much of his presidency on combating climate change, he has yet to formally declare it a national emergency. A climate emergency declaration would enable Biden to bypass Congress and take a number of regulatory steps not normally authorized to the White House.
“The environmental activist left is not an organic movement,” Daniel Turner, the founder and executive director of Power The Future, told Fox News Digital in an interview. “Their activism is well-thought-out and centrally planned, they have signs and T-shirts — someone is paying for all of that, it is orchestrated.”
“You may find some young people who are enthusiastic about the cause, but a lot of their authenticity comes into question when you realize it’s being paid for by people who don’t want their fingerprints on the project themselves,” Turner said. “Once you realize that it’s not organic, that it is paid activism and paid indignation and paid anger, well, then you realize the whole thing is just an enormous farce.”
According to the tax filing, CEF received more than 50 individual anonymous contributions worth thousands of dollars each. More than 10 were worth more than $100,000, with the largest contribution exceeding $1.2 million and two more exceeding $500,000 each.
Since it was created, the group has garnered contributions from high-profile Hollywood figures such as actors Jeremy Strong, Chelsea Handler and Thomas Middleditch, Walt Disney heir and filmmaker Abigail Disney, and director Adam McKay, who serves on the group’s board. Democrat New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s political action committee, Courage to Change, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s nonprofit, Onward Together, have also donated tens of thousands of dollars to CEF.
Nonprofits aren’t legally required to report the identities of their donors, allowing CEF’s contributors to remain anonymous. However, in its annual report, CEF lists numerous donors, including Strong, Handler, Middleditch, Disney and McKay.
And, in addition to McKay, CEF’s board of directors includes Aileen Getty, the granddaughter of the Getty Oil founder, and Rory Kennedy, the daughter of former U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy.