Heritage scholar flips script on Sen. Whitehouse with reference to all-White private beach club

A Heritage Foundation scholar who makes frequent appearances as a Republican witness in congressional testimony called out Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., for his reported membership in an all-White beach club, in response to the senator’s criticism of the D.C.-based think tank. Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of the Center For Energy, Climate, and Environment at The Heritage Foundation, also noted that Whitehouse’s personal wealth has ties to the fossil fuel industry after Whitehouse attacked her employer for taking money from oil and gas companies.  “I don’t have the benefit of being able to rely on a family fortune made in the Minnesota gas business, or having my spouse’s family fortune come from United Gas,” Furchtgott-Roth told Whitehouse on Wednesday at a Senate Budget Committee hearing titled, “Who Pays the Price: The Real Cost of Fossil Fuels.”  “And The Heritage Foundation is a club that anyone can join, not just White people,” she added. “During 2021, it had hundreds of thousands of individual, foundation and corporate supporters representing every state in the United States.” SEN. SHELDON WHITEHOUSE REVEALS HE BELONGS TO A YACHT CLUB THAT LACKS DIVERSITY Her biting comments came after Whitehouse, the committee chairman, questioned Furchtgott-Roth’s expertise and opposition to President Biden’s energy agenda, noting that she had worked for the American Petroleum Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson Institute the Manhattan Institute and, most recently, the Heritage Foundation.  “Every single one of those groups is funded by the fossil fuel industry. Is that not true?” said Whitehouse, a fierce critic of so-called “dark money” groups on the right. Furchtgott-Roth responded by pointing out that Whitehouse has a family fortune partly inherited from his grandfather, Rufus Randall Rand, who was president of the Minneapolis Gas Company. He is also descended from Charles Crocker, who was one of the founders of Central Pacific Railroad.  Whitehouse has an estimated net worth of $7.4 million according to Open Secrets. His privileged family’s membership in Bailey’s Beach Club, officially known as Spouting Rock Beach Association, became the subject of a 2021 controversy when local media outlets in Rhode Island reported that the exclusive club did not accept non-White members. Members of Black Lives Matter Rhode Island had called for Whitehouse to cut ties with the club or resign from office. SENATE PASSES BIPARTISAN BILL TO OVERRIDE BIDEN’S HANDOUT TO CHINESE SOLAR COMPANIES “This is an issue that’s not going to go away, and Senator Whitehouse needs to address it, he needs to take it on,” BLM Rhode Island founder Mark Fisher told WLNE in 2021.  “It doesn’t matter, you know what type of black people he brings in. This club is a proven racist club with exclusive ties to supremacy and exclusion, and that’s something that’s not going to be tolerated by me, by my associates, my affiliates or my organization,” Fisher said. A spokesperson for Whitehouse did not respond to a request for comment. The senator’s office has previously denied that the club has discriminatory policies and said it does have minority members.  “I think the people who are running the place are still working on that, and I’m sorry it hasn’t happened yet,” Whitehouse said in 2021.  SENATE REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING MCCONNELL, SAY DEBT LIMIT FIGHT IS BETWEEN MCCARTHY AND BIDEN At Wednesday’s hearing, Whitehouse pressed Furchtgott-Roth on the Heritage Foundation’s corporate funding, specifically from oil and gas companies like Koch Industries.  Furchtgott-Roth responded that most of the Heritage Foundation’s income comes from individual donors.  “The top five corporate givers provided The Heritage Foundation with only 1% of its 2021 income,” she said. “Individuals contributed 82%, foundations 12%, corporations 1%, program revenue and other income 5%.” Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 
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