Person

Molly McUsic

Occupation:

President, Wyss Foundation

Molly McUsic is president of the Wyss Foundation, the left-of-center grantmaking foundation of controversial medical device billionaire Hansjorg Wyss that focuses on environmentalist advocacy and land conservation in the American West[1] and holds over $2.5 billion in assets. [2] Before joining the Wyss Foundation, she served in the Clinton administration as Counselor to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and played a large role in designating national monuments under the Antiquities Act. [3] She was a founding board member of the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF), a conservation advocacy group that heavily influences the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM). [4]

Background

Molly McUsic comes from a background in law. She is a former attorney, a former Skadden Fellow at the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, a tenured professor at the University of North Carolina, and a visiting professor at Harvard Law School. [5] She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard Law School. [6] She clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson. [7]

Environmentalist Politics

Molly McUsic served in the Clinton administration as Counselor to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt,[8] who aggressively increased environmental regulations. [9] Babbitt established the National Landscape Conservation System (now called National Conservation Lands) in 2000, and credits McUsic with aggressively leading the campaign to designate national monuments under the Antiquities Act. [10]

The National Conservation Lands are managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM),[11] a U.S. government agency criticized as both environmentally and fiscally mismanaged. [12] BLM is heavily influenced by conservation advocacy groups like the Conservation Lands Foundation (CLF),[13] which received contributions of about $4.5 million dollars from the Wyss Foundation from 2011-2013. [14] Both Molly McUsic and Hansjorg Wyss were founding board members of CLF; Wyss, Babbitt, and Wyss Foundation vice president Chris Killingsworth are all presently board members. [15]

McUsic was part of President Joe Biden’s transition team, and reviewed Interior Department policies and personnel on behalf of the new administration. [16]

Ties to Arabella Advisors

Also see Arabella Advisors

McUsic previously served in President Bill Clinton’s administration under Interior Secretary and environmental activist Bruce Babbitt. Arabella Advisors founder Eric Kessler also worked for Babbitt at the time, although it is not clear how closely Kessler and McUsic worked together. [17]

Political Donations

Between 2000 and 2019, McUsic gave over $20,000 to Democratic candidates. [18] She contributed to the campaigns of 2004 Democratic Presidential nominee John Kerry, President Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton (in both 2008 and 2016). [19] Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) received funds for his 2010 Senate race and his 2020 presidential campaign. [20]

References

  1. “About.” Wyss Foundation. 2018. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.wyssfoundation.org/about ^
  2. Wyss Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2017, Part II Line 16c ^
  3. “Molly McUsic.” Council on Foundations. 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.cof.org/person/molly-mcusic ^
  4. Taylor, Phil. “Western Nonprofit is Changing the Face of BLM.” E&E News. July 28, 2016. Accessed September 8, 2019. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060040913 ^
  5. “Molly McUsic.”Andes Amazon Fund. 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.andesamazonfund.org/person/molly-mcusic/ ^
  6. “Molly McUsic.” Council on Foundations. 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.cof.org/person/molly-mcusic ^
  7. “Molly McUsic.”Andes Amazon Fund. 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019.  https://www.andesamazonfund.org/person/molly-mcusic/ ^
  8. “Molly McUsic.” Council on Foundations. 2019. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.cof.org/person/molly-mcusic ^
  9. “Bruce Babbitt.” The Washington Post. 1998. Accessed September 7, 2019. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/govt/admin/babbitt.htm ^
  10. Babbett, Bruce. “The National Landscape Conservation System- The Next Ten Years.” April 15, 2010. Accessed September 7, 2019. https://www.centerwest.org/archives/1045 ^
  11. “National Conservation Lands.” Bureau of Land Management. Accessed September 8, 2019. https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands ^
  12. Anderson, Terry L. and Watson, Reed. “Public Land Mismangement.” Forbes. April 7, 2009. Accessed September 8, 2019. https://www.forbes.com/2009/04/07/public-land-mismanagement-opinions-contributors-perc.html#7faab3833ded ^
  13. Taylor, Phil. “Western Nonprofit is Changing the Face of BLM.” E&E News. July 28, 2016. Accessed September 8, 2019. https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060040913 ^
  14. Taylor, Phil. “’Quietly Philanthropic’ Tycoon Makes his Mark in the West.” E&E News. March 24, 2015. Accessed September 8, 2019.  https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060015651 ^
  15. “Board for Directors.” Conservation Lands Foundation. 2019. Accessed September 8, 2019. https://conservationlands.org/home/who-we-are/board-of-directors ^
  16. Vogel, Kenneth P. “Swiss Billionaire Quietly Becomes Influential Force Among Democrats.” The New York Times. The New York Times, May 3, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/03/us/politics/hansjorg-wyss-money-democrats.html. ^
  17. Ludwig, Hayden. “Inside the Foreign-Funded ‘Hub Project’ to Transform America.” The American Conservative, April 29, 2021. https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/inside-the-foreign-funded-hub-project-to-transform-america/. ^
  18. “Donor Lookup: Molly McUsic.” OpenSecrets. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?order=desc&q=molly+mcusic&sort=D&type=donors ^
  19. “Donor Lookup: Molly McUsic.” OpenSecrets. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?order=desc&q=molly+mcusic&sort=D&type=donors ^
  20. “Donor Lookup: Molly McUsic.” OpenSecrets. Accessed September 5, 2019. https://www.opensecrets.org/search?order=desc&q=molly+mcusic&sort=D&type=donors ^
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