Last September, Greenpeace welcomed a new addition to our national headquarters in Washington, D.C. - an IRS auditor. After a three month-long investigation, we passed the audit and maintained our tax-exempt status. As the Wall Street Journal reported on March 21, the real story is what prompted the audit - a recommendation from Public Interest Watch (PIW) - a self-proclaimed "watchdog of non-profit groups" funded by non-other than ExxonMobil.
We have been a major target of PIW's scrutinization for years. In fact, on its IRS application for 2003, it admitted Greenpeace was the only non-profit it was focusing on that year. The good news is we've got nothing to hide. The only run-ins we have with the law is through acts of civil disobedience; peaceful protests to protect the environment. We have no intention of not complying with regulations when it comes to taxes and regulatory laws.
According to PIW's most recent tax filing from 2003, $120,000 of the $124,094 the group received in contributions during that period came from ExxonMobil. That's not even a drop in the bucket when it comes to Exxon's profits. Last year, the oil giant announced record-breaking profits of $36 billion.
Despite earning the biggest profits ever in the history of the world, Exxon can't seem to find the $4.5 billion it owes to the victims of the Valdez oil spill. This Friday marks the 17th anniversary of the disaster and 30,000 Alaskans are still waiting to be compensated for their financial losses and damage to their health. Sadly, 3,000 of the plaintiffs have passed away without receiving a dime from Exxon as it keeps dragging its feet in court.
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We were not surprised that Exxon's front group initiated the IRS audit. After all, we've branded the oil giant as the "Number One Climate Criminal" because of its efforts to undermine the science behind global warming and sabotage international solutions. For years, we've run an international boycott of ExxonMobil and have protested its offices and stations all over the world.