Canadian "Friends of Science" Linking to U.S. Political Campaign

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The organizer of a Calgary fundraising event for Republican Senator Sam Brownback has told the Globe and Mail that he also plans to divert some of the income to Friends of Science, a Canadian “not-for-profit” group that is already facing accusations of interfering illegally in the Canadian electoral process.

Friends of Science is a climate change-denial organization primarily funded by Calgary oil and gas interests. Those oily supporters donated money anonymously to the Calgary Foundation, which then passed it along to an “educational project” being run by University of Calgary Professor (and Prime Minister Stephen Harper fishing buddy) Barry Cooper. Cooper then sluiced the cash along to Friends of Science – or paid FOS bills – while the Friends used the money to create and distribute doubter videos and to fund a highly political climate change advertising campaign swing ridings during the last election. Elections Canada is investigating.

In this instance, the Friends have again tied themselves closely to a political party – the U.S. Republicans, who are planning to bring Kansas Senator Brownback to Calgary to raise money. According to organizer Norman Leach, executive director of the Western Canadian division of the American Chamber of Commerce, any funds raised from Canadian-resident U.S. citizens (or from Canadian green card holders who are entitled to vote in the U.S. election) will go to Brownback. But U.S. electoral rules prevent Canadians from interfering directly in the U.S. electoral process, so funds raised from Canadians will be given to the Friends (which, given its track record, can then spend the income on “educational” efforts in tight U.S. districts before or during the upcoming election).

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