THE TAX-EXEMPT DESTRUCTION OF OUR FORESTS
By Alan Caruba
Why then do we give a tax exemption to one of the most active pressure groups opposing forest management, the timber industry, and the use of the many products that flow from this most renewable natural resource? Why has it been allowed to abuse its tax-exempt status by openly lobbying when the IRS forbids this?
In 2002, 67,000 wildfires in America's western states destroyed more than seven million acres of forestland.
The organization in question is yet another of those wretched Green groups masquerad- ing as a savior of the environment, while their policies destroy it. Organized in 1996, it's the Dogwood Alliance, a 501 [c]  nonprofit network of environmental groups that claim to be engaged in "research and educational services related to forest protection." This status permits donors to claim their contributions as tax deductions.
In August, Public Interest Watch petitioned the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the activities of the Dogwood Alliance, including their collusion with EarthFirst! extrem- ists. PIW wants their tax status revoked, based on the Dogwood Alliance's substantial lobbying (not disclosed on their annual tax return) and their proclivity to use "disparag- ing and inflammatory" language to promote their causes. The tax-exempt status the IRS grants does not permit this. Despite this, the Alliance has paid for radio ads and openly lobbies for more restrictions on the timber industry.
For the record, contributions to Public Interest Watch are not tax-deductible. This tax- payer watchdog organization monitors the activities of tax-exempt, nonprofit organiza- tions to ensure they operate according to IRS law. You can learn more about PIWat www.publicinterestwatch.org.
The Dogwood Alliance, like virtually every other environmental group, specializes in out- right lies. It has claimed, for example, that southern forestry companies were responsible for "unprecedented forest destruction" and were "degrading" water quality and wildlife habitat. A two-year federal study found no basis for these claims. Indeed, there are more acres of southern forests now than there were in 1992. IRS rules do not permit the use of "disparaging and inflammatory" language to advance an organization's agenda.
Another activity of the Dogwood Alliance has been its attack on Staples. In a fund-rais- ing letter, it called this company "the largest forest destroyer in the South" and said the office supply chain was responsible for filling up the nation's landfills with forest prod- ucts. It demanded that Staples stop "financing the destruction of forests" through its buying, marketing, and selling of paper products. Mike Hardiman, Public Interest Watch's president, accurately notes that "This is not education. It's extortion." Indeed, PIW doesn't challenge the Dogwood Alliance's right to advocate its agenda, but rather its violation of the rules they agreed to when they received their tax-exempt status.
The Dogwood Alliance has partnered with groups like the Ruckus Society, perhaps best known for the mayhem they organized on the streets of Seattle during the last meeting of the World Trade Organization. Using the Ruckus Society, the Alliance has funded pro- tests, intimidation and "direct action" against Staples stores and customers. Staples caved in, agreeing to the Alliance's demands. In December, 2000, the Alliance turned its attention to Staples' competitor, OfficeMax, threatening to unleash its storm troopers on them.
Claiming to be a "grassroots" organization, the Alliance gets a paltry two percent of its revenue from members. The rest come from huge tax-exempt foundations like the Tur- ner Foundation and W. Alton Jones Foundation.
Using and abusing tax laws designed to encourage taxpayers' support for legitimate or- ganizations, operated in the public interest, environmental groups continue to flout the IRS. The practice is widespread. For example, the Alaska Wilderness League has used its funding to lobby against drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). The Alaska Wilderness League's tax-exempt status has been challenged by the Alaska Native Village of Kaktovik.
The tax-exempt status of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been chal- lenged by the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. PETA has provided funding to eco-terrorist groups such as the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), famous for firebombing private property, government offices, and research labs. Other groups such as the Nat- ural Resource Defense Council and the Rainforest Action Network have also had their tax-exempt status challenged.
What does the Dogwood Alliance really represent? It represents the large-scale burning of American forests. It represents the demise of a large portion of the nation's once- thriving timber industry, the loss of jobs and tax revenue. It represents increased costs of all wood-related products. And it represents cheating the U.S. government of revenues that should be paid, but are not paid by virtue of their tax-exempt status.
The dogwood is a lovely tree that grows in abundance throughout the South. Its name has been defiled by the liars and cheaters who hide behind a tax-exempt status, the pur- pose of which they pervert.
Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, Communications Director of the American Policy Center, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center (www.anxietycenter.com). A compilation of his past columns, entitled Warning Signs, is published by Merril Press. In addition to Warning Signs, Caruba is the author of A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam and The United Nations vs. the United States, both of which are available from the National Anxiety Center, 9 Brookside Road, Maplewood, New Jersey, 07040.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor