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Nonprofit profile: League of Conservation Voters Inc.

Quick stats on the nonprofit group

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 Updated:

Type of organization: 501(c)(4)

Employer Identification Number: 52-1733698

Supports: Pro-environment candidates, mostly Democrats

Founded: 1969

Website: LCV.org

Social media: YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter profile

Finances:

For the group's activities during calendar year 2010:

  • Total revenue: $19.5 million
  • Total expenses: $19 million
  • Net assets: $6.4 million

IRS Form 990 filing: 2010

Principals:

  • Gene Karpinski ( president): Lobbyist for U.S. Public Interest Research Group for 21 years. Former field director for liberal nonprofits People for the American Way and Congress Watch.
  • Patrick Collins (senior vice president, finance and administration): Former chief financial officer at M + R Strategic Services, a Washington, D.C.-based public relations firm.
  • Navin Nayak (senior vice president, campaigns): Deputy campaign manager for Clean Energy Works, a national campaign to push for climate change legislation.
  • Tiernan Sittenfeld (senior vice president, government affairs): Lobbied for environmental preservation at U.S. Public Interest Research Group. Former co-director at the Pew-funded Heritage Forests Campaign.
  • Scott Nathan (chairman, board of directors): Chief risk officer at Baupost Group, a Boston investment firm.

Profile:

Based in Washington, D.C., the League of Conservation Voters is a network of more than 30 state affiliates. It was the top-spending, non-disclosing liberal group in the 2012 election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, investing about $11 million in political advertisements that expressly advocated for the election or defeat of federal candidates.

Many of the League's expenditures in 2012 went to ads attacking the “Dirty Dozen” — a list of mostly Republican candidates who have voted against environmental regulation.

The group took a particular aim at Republican George Allen, who faced Democrat Tim Kaine in Virginia’s tight U.S. Senate contest. The League unleashed more than $2 million in TV attack ads and direct mail, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and Kaine ultimately prevailed in the race. At one point, the League teamed up with House Majority PAC to release "George Allen: What's Wrong with Washington," which criticized Allen — a former senator and Virginia governor — for his alleged ties to energy companies.

Among other notable expenditures in 2012, the League and other big-name conservation groups launched a wave of ads attacking GOP Senate nominee Heather Wilson, a former congresswoman from New Mexico, for her voting record on the regulation of MTBE — a water contaminant.

Established in 1969 by veteran environmentalist David Brower, the League lobbies for pro-environmental legislation and supports candidates with a similar agenda. The group has spent more than $1.1 million on lobbying since 2002, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, the League is not required to publicly reveal its funder, though the Center for Responsive Politics has identified that the Green Tech Action Fund and the Advocacy Fund, two other nonprofits, are among its financial supporters.

Advertisements:

  • A pro-Obama online video highlighted the president’s stance on climate change.
  • An ad that attacked GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s alleged political ties to the oil industry.
  • "Emma" and "Who's Wilson With?" linked former congresswoman and GOP Senate candidate Heather Wilson to water contamination in New Mexico.
  • A wild West-themed ad attacked Rep Francisco Canseco, R-Texas.

Last updated: Jan. 22, 2013