Hucksterism and Self-Dealing at the Sierra Club: Environmentalists rake in big bucks from Global Warming activism and the War on Coal
Hucksterism and Self-Dealing at the Sierra Club
Environmentalists rake in big bucks from Global Warming activism and the War on Coal [pdf here]
By David W. Schnare
Summary: The Sierra Club and its sister foundation have abandoned their traditional charitable mission of conserving America’s wilderness lands in order to chase dollars that can be had for themselves and their leaders and donors by engaging in business activities—including promoting some businesses at the expense of other businesses. They have left not only their mission but the law governing nonprofits far behind.
When a group like the Sierra Club morphs from a mainstream conservation group into a radical “green” organization, you would expect it to take extreme positions on the issues with which it deals. But you might be surprised by the extent to which the tax-exempt Sierra Club, its affiliated foundation (also tax-exempt), and its board members gain financially from the War on Coal and other causes the Club supports.
The Sierra Club generates about a million dollars a year in taxable unrelated business income on which there is no evidence that it is paying taxes or intends to. Further, as a nonprofit organization, it may not compete with commercial businesses, yet there is clear evidence it does. The Club operates a store selling all manner of goods. Worse, the Club has become the marketing arm for two private companies selling solar panels. Each of these activities is suspect. None of these activities represents the core purposes of the Sierra Club. Both types of activities—direct sales in competition with for-profit businesses, and acting as the marketing arm for private companies—constitute participation in commercial business.
Both the Sierra Club and its affiliated Sierra Club Foundation, have received tax-exempt status Read all »