Regulatory Watchdogs

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness

Greenpeace International
Public Citizen
Sierra Club

Center for Auto Safety
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Air Trust
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Environmental Defense
ETC Group
FM Watch
Friends of the Earth
PR Watch
State Public Interest Research Groups
U.S. Public Interest Research Groups


The Sierra Club, the AIG of NGOs
Financial conglomerates are not the only organizations that develop institutional sclerosis once they expand beyond their original purpose. The Sierra Club, America's oldest environmental watchdog, has grown beyond its roots and now embraces a range of causes. It is a bigger organization than it used to be, but not better.

Among its assortment of activities, the Sierra Club has joined with the Service Employees International Union and other organizations to support legislation that would allow union organizers to bypass the traditional secret ballot elections for union formation. Ironically, the NGO which seeks to deprive workers of the right to a secret ballot is now suffering its own election scandal.

The Ventura County Star reports that the Sierra Club's Los Padres chapter is in "a fight amongst themselves and it's getting ugly quick with public name calling, rigged elections and accusations of hidden agendas, sexism and racism." One long-time member says, "This isn't the Sierra Club I know and love." The paper states that "the national arm of the group descended on the local chapter, throwing out its most recent election because of 'widespread voter fraud' - possibly the first such incidence since John Muir started the national conservation group in 1892."

Financial institutions got in trouble when they moved from traditional practices into writing credit default swaps and other exotic instruments that they thought were within their range of expertise. Similarly, as the Sierra Club engages in its own forms of expansion and advocacy diversification, they may find that they become increasingly consumed by internal politics and less focused on the environment. They may also find that mega-banks are not the only oversized, out of touch institutions subject to sudden collapse.

See newspaper article

CRE Homepage