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Free Marketeers oppose pro-Kyoto Treasury Secretary

WASHINGTON, April 11 /U.S. Newswire/ — Today, a coalition of free market-based policy groups sent a letter to President Bush asking him not to nominate Goldman Sachs Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Henry Paulson as Treasury Secretary given his controversial stand on environmental issues.

The letter was signed by the National Legal and Policy Center, the Free Enterprise Action Fund, Capital Research Center, National Center for Public Policy Research, and Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise.

Media reports indicate that the current Treasury Secretary John Snow will soon leave office and Paulson has been mentioned as a possible successor. However, many of Paulson's environmental views are opposed to the positions of the Administration.

Paulson is also Chairman of the Nature Conservancy, an environmental activist group that endorses the Kyoto Treaty that would require the U.S. to make economically-drastic reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to combat the scientifically-unproven global warming threat.

President Bush does not support Kyoto.

"As head of the Nature Conservancy, Paulson often made decisions that benefited the Conservancy at the expense of Goldman and its shareholders," said John Carlisle, policy director at the National Legal and Policy Center. "Based on his private sector record, Paulson simply can't be trusted as Treasury Secretary to faithfully adhere to important Administration policies on Kyoto and the environment."

"The Goldman board failed to respond to questions about the apparent conflict-of-interest between Paulson's environmental agenda and his management of the company," noted Tom Borelli of the Free Enterprise Action Fund. "You do not want someone serving as a cabinet officer who has a habit of indulging his environmental hobby at the expense of his financial responsibilities."

"President Bush took the right step in not committing the United States to a treaty that would likely cost millions of American jobs to address an unproven global warming threat," said Steve Milloy of the Free Enterprise Action Fund. "Henry Paulson would undermine the Administration's ability to counter global warming alarmism."

We write in response to media reports that Goldman Sachs Chairman & CEO Henry Paulson may be under consideration for nomination as Treasury Secretary.

You should be aware that Mr. Paulson also serves as chairman of the Nature Conservancy, an environmental activist group that takes stands on issue such as the Kyoto Treaty that are diametrically opposed to the positions of your Administration. (The Nature Conservancy has also spent recent years mired in scandal, as exposed in a Washington Post series and in Senate hearings.)

Under Mr. Paulson's leadership, Goldman Sachs adopted in November of 2005 a controversial "Environmental Policy," which parallels the positions of the Nature Conservancy on key issues.

As various media reports indicated, the Goldman Sachs Annual Meeting on Friday, March 31was dominated by discussions of whether Mr. Paulson had a conflict-of-interest in his dual role as chairman of both Goldman Sachs and the Nature Conservancy, and whether the "Environmental Policy" was detrimental to Goldman Sachs own interests, and the American economy as a whole.

Furthermore, there are unanswered questions about Mr. Paulson's personal and business ethics. In 2005, Goldman Sachs made a donation of 680,000 acres of land in Chile to a group called the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) that publicly identifies itself as a "partner" of the Nature Conservancy. Mr. Paulson's son Merritt Paulson is a Trustee of WCF.

At the Goldman Sachs annual meeting, Mr. Paulson asserted that the Nature Conservancy was purposely not involved with the Chilean land deal. Yet the 2004 tax return of the Nature Conservancy itemizes a $144,000 consulting fee received from Goldman Sachs for assistance on the Chilean land deal.

For these reasons, we urge you to look elsewhere for a qualified candidate should Secretary John Snow leave office in the near future.

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