American Lung Association award: A political thank-you note?

Published May 1, 2000

In February, the American Lung Association (ALA) presented its President’s Award to EPA Administrator Carol M. Browner. Some observers wonder if the award was a “thank-you note” for the $7.3 million in taxpayer funds that EPA has awarded the ALA over the past five years.

The award lauds Browner’s “leadership” for taking “the toughest action in a generation to safeguard public health from air pollution.” That probably includes Browner’s notable 1997 decision to ban a new class of particulates not envisioned by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments. The American Trucking Association and U.S. Chamber of Commerce challenged the decision in court, prevailing in 1999 when the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down Browner’s regulations as an unconstitutional usurpation of congressional authority.

Year EPA Grants to ALA
1996 $ 997,483
1997 $5,212,554
1998 $ 799,041
1999 $ 267,500

During the legal battle over the Browner decision, ALA emerged as EPA’s lead cheerleader. In 1997, it filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the agency. That year, EPA pumped more than five times as much taxpayer funding into ALA as it had in other years. Was there a quid pro quo?

“Most people probably thought that this kind of I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-my-back politics was a thing of the past, but it is part and parcel of the alliance between big-government environmental groups and bureaucrats,” said Christopher Yablonski, a researcher with Capital Research Center. “It’s a shame that American taxpayers have to foot the bill for Browner’s pork-barrel grants to the American Lung Association.”

Capital Research Center was established in 1984 to study critical issues in philanthropy, with a special focus on nonprofit “public interest” and advocacy groups, the funding sources that sustain them, their agendas, and their impact on public policy and society.

Since late 1998, CRC has been constructing a database and research apparatus devoted specifically to monitoring the leadership, activities, and funding of the left-wing environmental movement. Dubbed “Green Watch,” the project builds on CRC’s continuing efforts as a conservative “philanthropic watchdog.”

For more information

visit the Capital Research Center’s Green Watch Web site at