To bet on the upcoming presidential election, don’t just rely on polls. Look at the billions of taxpayer dollars President Joe Biden is pouring into “community organizations” in “disadvantaged communities” to tip the election scales.

The community organizer who became president, Barack Obama, was a master at machine politics, using federal tax dollars to turn community organizations — left-wing not-for-profits — into a fifth estate. Their staffs, paid using taxpayer money but not tied to government rules, could hit the streets at election time and build turnout. Biden has scaled up Obama’s playbook, using billions of dollars instead of mere millions.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) made headlines last week with the discovery that in Dec. 2023 the Environmental Protection Agency awarded a $50 million “environmental justice” grant to the Climate Justice Alliance. Capito is distressed to learn that the Climate Justice Alliance vows “the path to climate justice travels through a free Palestine.”

In fact, Climate Justice Alliance serves up a full agenda of radical activities, including fighting “political oppression” and “placing race, gender, and class at the center” of its climate solutions.

But $50 million for the Climate Justice Alliance is a drop in the bucket.

Had members of Congress read the Inflation Reduction Act before passing it — a novel idea — they would know the law provides $2.8 billion to the EPA for environmental and climate justice block grants,” (Section 60201). That’s a license to hand out walking-around money to many political activists, not just the Climate Justice Alliance.

Another recipient: the New York Immigration Coalition, which describes itself as a “coalition of immigrant and refugee organizations” pushing for more government services and political clout.

Same is true of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, another recipient. The words “climate” and “environment” don’t appear anywhere on these groups’ websites or literature.

Lawmakers may have assumed the money was for climate improvement, but the IRA’s fine print allows the moolah to be used for “facilitating engagement of marginalized communities in Local, State and Federal public processes, such as advisory groups, workshops, rulemakings.” Translation: elections.

How easy is it to get the dough? Piece of cake. The EPA says it wants to “alleviate much of the burden that the federal grants process places on small, resource-constrained community-based organizations supporting underserved communities and marginalized populations.” In short, no jumping through hoops.

The money can only go to a disadvantaged community or a southern border town. There are 27,521 disadvantaged communities on the census map, according to Biden’s “Climate and Economic Justice Screening Tool,” which targets non-English speakers, people with diabetes, and other factors that mostly correspond to heavily minority populations. These communities customarily vote Democratic.

Adding eligibility for border towns is an interesting twist. As waves of migrants overwhelm resources in these towns, Democrats are growing divided over Biden’s open border policies. Money may shore up support.

During his first week as president, Biden announced the Justice40 initiative by executive order, requiring that 40% of many types of federal spending — not just EPA grants — must go to these “disadvantaged communities.”

The Department of Energy is spreading money to these “disadvantaged communities,” using what it calls “community benefit plans” and promising that application requirements will be “intentionally flexible.”

The playbook started with the Affordable Care Act. The ACA, or “Obamacare,” authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to hand out “community transformation grants.” Community Health Councils, a typical recipient, pledged that its mission was to advance “social justice.” It distributed 65% of the money to partner community groups that promoted “voter engagement,” conducted “one-on-one education in the streets” or led tenants’ rights, anti-fracking and anti-drilling efforts. And you thought the ACA was about covering the uninsured.

A decade after Obama, Biden is tasking every agency and department of the federal government to promote voter engagement.

Biden’s community grants pale in size compared to the student debt cancellation vote-buying that now totals $620 billion. But the community grant money lands directly in the hands of political activists who know what to do with it.

Tell your congressional rep to read the bills before voting on them and strip out these provisions for community giveaways that make a mockery of democracy.

Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and chairman of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

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