C.D. Stelzer peeks at the close-knit relationships among those who pull the strings in international politics, worldwide philanthropy and the global energy grab.
At first glance, it appears to have been nothing more than a tempest in a teapot, but a minor row in Ireland in late 2005 provides insight into the intricate ties between international politics, global energy concerns and worldwide philanthropy.
Though they may seem tenuous, the connections are as intricately crafted as a wool jumper hand-woven in the Aran Islands.
During the heat of last year's United States presidential campaign the candidates made few, if any, allusions to the work of charitable foundations nor would there seem to be any reason to link them to partisan politics in the U.S. or abroad.
But that was before New York investment banker Bernard M. Madoff admitted bilking investors out of $50 billion.
On Dec. 29, Moveon.org, the liberal advocacy group that supported President Barack Obama's candidacy, sent out an urgent email soliciting funds from donors. The election was over, their candidate had won, but affiliated organizations that promote Moveon's agenda faced potential financial ruin. Many wealthy liberal contributors who had been ripped off by Madoff would likely be forced to stop their generous giving.
Moveon stepped up quickly to keep the programmes of four allied organisations operating without interruption. Within three days, Moveon had raised more than $600,000 online from small donors. The non-profit groups that benefited from the fund drive included Human Rights Watch, Advancement Project, the Brennan Center for Justice and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
As a part of the arrangement two foundations -- the Open Society Institute and the Atlantic Philanthropies -- agreed to split the matching funds, each giving $300,000 to the cause. With the support of these two foundations, Moveon raised more than a $1.3 million for its favourite causes in 72 hours. And all it took to set in motion was the click of a mouse.