Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation Accused of Tax Law Violations



E&E Legal Files Referral With IRS Regarding Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation Tax Law Violations

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) filed a formal referral with the Internal Revenue Service alleging the Sierra Club and the Sierra Club Foundation are in potential noncompliance regarding two areas of tax law: impermissible benefit to private interests and failure to pay taxes on unrelated business income. A detailed report authored by E&E Legal’s General Counsel David W. Schnare outlining the specific violations accompanied the IRS referral, which seeks the tax agency’s careful review and investigation into these potential tax law violations.

Regarding its failure to pay taxes on unrelated business income, the Sierra Club sends its members into communities to sell the products of a selected local solar panel company in Maryland, Utah and dozens of other states in exchange for contributions to the group. In Maryland, for example, the Sierra Club makes a $750 profit from every sale and has never paid taxes on that commercial enterprise.

As the Sierra Club’s Chief of Staff Jesse Simons has stated, “This has been a great revenue-generating tool for the Sierra Club.” The Sierra Club markets the products of a single company in each jurisdiction, in direct competition to several other similar companies who cannot rely on the Sierra Club sales force. “This violates the law,” says Schnare.

In terms of impermissible benefits to private interest, the Sierra Club’s use of its War on Coal not only produce profits, but apparently conspires with the companies that profit from that war. Eight of the Sierra Club Foundation’s 18 directors own or operate organizations that directly benefit from the War on Coal. These directors are the captains of the renewable energy industry. While the Sierra Club Foundation doesn’t pay these directors, their companies directly profit from the Sierra Club Foundation’s primary “program,” the War on Coal.

Beyond the illegal inurement to these directors’ interests is the direct benefit to major donors. Natural gas producer Chesapeake Energy paid $26 million to the Sierra Club for the express purpose of forcing coal-fired electricity companies to switch to natural gas. David Gelbaum, who controls more than 40 “clean tech” companies that directly benefit from forced shutdown of the coal-power industry, donated more than $100 million to the Sierra Club.

“The Sierra Club Foundation wages a war on coal to the direct financial benefit of its directors and top donors,” added Schnare. “This, too, is not lawful.”

Schnare notes that such IRS referrals are not unusual as they receive complaints from the general public, members of Congress, federal and state government agencies, and internal sources every year and the have established an office tasked exclusively to review these referrals. “The E&E Legal referral, however, is different from recent high-profile complaints to the IRS regarding nonprofits spending money in campaigns since our complaint is not about politics and political spending,” he adds.

Thirty-one years ago, Bruce Yandel coined the phrase “Bootleggers and Baptists” to describe how these strange bedfellows work together to corrupt the economy and the law. “Baptists” point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits. Bootleggers are simply in it for the money. Today, Yandel’s theory is in full bloom and there is no more prominent “baptist” than the Sierra Club and no more prominent bootleggers than anti-coal/renewable energy businesses.

“These bootleggers and baptists have taken a step too far, and despite their claims of moral superiority, the Sierra Club has become a huckster for the bootleggers and the Sierra Club Foundation has been infiltrated and controlled by the bootleggers themselves,” said Schnare. “In so doing, they have broken the law,” he concluded.


The Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) is a 501(c)(3) organization engaged in strategic litigation, policy research, and public education on important energy and environmental issues. Primarily through its petition litigation and transparency practice areas, E&E Legal seeks to correct onerous federal and state policies that hinder the economy, increase the cost of energy, eliminate jobs, and do little or nothing to improve the environment.


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September 17, 2014 6:07 am

I read the headline and thought it had to be a joke – the DOJ would never go after one of their own.
But the meat of the article tells the real story. The DOJ is not, it is just a concerned citizens group.

Reply to  philjourdan
September 17, 2014 11:37 am

I hope they sent this to Rep. Trey Gowdy.
He has several issues with the IRS, already.

Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 12:42 pm

WOW! What a powerfull statement.

Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 1:34 pm

He is a pleasure to watch in action.

Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 3:03 pm

He should be your next President

September 17, 2014 6:08 am

What if the IRS is also infiltrated by “Bootleggers and Baptists”?

Owen in GA
Reply to  ferdberple
September 17, 2014 8:22 am

I think there is enough evidence to remove your “if” in that question and change it to a statement.

Reply to  ferdberple
September 17, 2014 8:39 am

Well Ferd, we know they have. The real question is will E&E hold their feet to the fire on this matter?
To my mind this is extremely serious and it may well fall foul of RICO legislation.

Reply to  Keitho
September 17, 2014 9:14 am

RICO only comes into play if the DOJ decides it does. There is no way Holder goes against the interests of his team.

Reply to  ferdberple
September 17, 2014 11:13 pm

They’re having a go at Breitbart News as well … don’t like those pesky conservative journalists making the Administration and its Boss look bad.

Greg Goodman
September 17, 2014 6:17 am

Very interesting.

A C Osborn
September 17, 2014 6:20 am

I really hope thay can nail them for this.

John W. Garrett
Reply to  A C Osborn
September 17, 2014 6:24 am

….along with National Geographic, AARP, the Smithsonian and a whole host of D.C. “non-profits” who routinely engage in commercial activities.

Reply to  John W. Garrett
September 17, 2014 7:25 am

The govt party never goes after it’s allies.

Mary Kay Barton
September 17, 2014 6:20 am

Al Capone had nothing on them (it was after all tax fraud that did Capone in). Cuff them and take them away! — All of the despicable thieves, and throw away the key! It can’t happen soon enough!

Gary Pearse
September 17, 2014 6:32 am

I hope they have replaced the IRS “investigators” who only went after right wing organizations. The Sierra Club! Now this little item should be also taught in high schools’ current affairs classes (yeah, I’ll hold my breath). I guess only their acquittal on all charges will be taught.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 17, 2014 7:26 am

Replaced? They were promoted.

Evan Jones
Reply to  MarkW
September 17, 2014 9:28 am

Ah, so they were replaced, then?

Reply to  Gary Pearse
September 17, 2014 11:11 am

Right wing?

Joel O'Bryan
September 17, 2014 6:39 am

Don’t expect much to happen as long as there is a Democrat in the WH. This goes nowhere in the IRS, its infiltrated with Lois Lerner-types. The IRS General Counsel, a political appointtee can pull this case into his office for “review”, and just sit on it.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 17, 2014 7:27 am

Even if we ever get another Republican president, this investigation will still go nowhere. The career employees are to committed to the liberal agenda.

Owen in GA
Reply to  MarkW
September 17, 2014 8:26 am

This will take a wholesale investigation and jailing of those who are abusing their positions. Otherwise, the same misbehavior will creep right back in. Examples need to be made of these miscreants so no other will dare to allow politics to influence implementation of the tax code. There is enough politics involved in writing the stupid thing.

Man Bearpig
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 17, 2014 8:13 am

I think they may have to, otherwise precedents are set. Anyone could build a similar set up to sell whatever they want and avoid taxes.

Reply to  Man Bearpig
September 17, 2014 10:34 am

They already do. Did you ever wonder how Algore made his $100+ million? It wasn’t all from making speeches.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
September 17, 2014 9:52 am

I can’t imagine our rulers will let it get very far. As they say over at the IRS, this complaint will soon be sleeping with the hard drives.

Reply to  Old Hoya
September 17, 2014 11:41 am

Now that’s funny

george e. smith
September 17, 2014 6:44 am

I was once an avid Sierra clubber. After all, with their founding credentials, who could not be. I enjoyed several of their hike outings, including a memorable “high-light” trip to the high sierra, in the Silliman Crest area.
But later on, I took part in a local trail clearing project, that ended with a “party” at the home of a high Sierra club person, I believe, one of the officers. That was in Woodside CA; an upscale neighborhood. No problem there; I’m always happy for person’s success.
Problem was, that custom home was the biggest assemblage of redwood lumber, I have ever seen in one place.
That was my cue to exit; stage right !
John Muir would cringe, at what his dream has become.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 6:53 am

exactly my issue with the present environmental movement. ‘Environment’ has nothing to do with it anymore. Just starry eyed lemmings, sold a bill of goods and fleeced for their labor and emotions.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 7:28 am

Old joke.
Q: What’s the difference between an environmentalist and a developer.
A: The environmentalist already has a big house in the woods.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 7:38 am

I don’t doubt the potential for such hypocrisy, but there was a booming industry for a while, maybe still is, where hundred year old plus railway trestles made from huge redwood logs were being dismantled and cut into recycled wood for the housing industry.
There were other sources of such lumber. There is a small industry on the St. Laurence involved in salvaging sunken logs lost from hundred year ago log booms. These are pine. Apparently the grain has a very unique and decorative appearance from ‘aging’ a hundred years underwater.
So it is possible that the house could have had redwood paneling and trim, and still been environmentally friendly.
Not likely mind you, but possible.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 8:18 am

Redwood farms for lumber are where nearly all commercial redwood originates.
Contrary to common thought, while the tree can take hundreds of years to mature at @300ft, it can be harvested in 40 years. I have one I planted in the cal Central Valley ,far from ideal conditions, and in 30 years it 90 ft high and 3 +ft diameter. This growth is similar to Douglas fir at harvest.
Not that I disagree at all with your judgement of their hypocrisy, but this may not be a telling indicator.

Reply to  latecommer2014
September 17, 2014 9:37 am

Most true Redwood paneling that I’ve seen has been from old-growth heartwood (or occasionally burl). That’s what you need to get that wonderful red coloring. New growth redwood doesn’t have the same coloring or the same rot resistant properties.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 9:34 am

Woodside area, you say…big house, lots of redwood…if it’s the place I’m thinking of, the yeah, it was built sometime before 1980 and all that redwood was ‘virgin’. I know a couple finish carpenters from CA that used to do work in houses like that. Highend, virgin wood was all the rage…mahogany, teak, redwood.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 10:53 am

This reminds me of a story I read recently, about a husband and wife who wanted to build a small home on a lot they had owned for many years. The lot was under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission [CCC].
The guy and his wife battled for years to be allowed to build, to no avail. They hired two different law firms to assist, and a builder who was familiar with all the rules and regulations. Both the builder and the lawyers assured them that they were in compliance with all the rules. At the time of writing, they had not made any progress at all. It seems the standard default position of the CCC is: “No.”
Then they found out that someone had bought a lot near theirs, after they had applied for permits. In less than one year, a very large new house had been built. There were apparently no permit problems from the CCC. Then the writer found out that the owner of that lot was a CCC Director.
The mind-set is the same: ‘It’s OK for me, but not for thee… peon.’
The Sierra Club wil get a pass. But don’t try this if you’re not cozy with Attorney General Holder.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 17, 2014 11:21 am

That’s the problem with conservatives, They’re too polite.
A true liberal would have staged a march right then.
He’d have called the media, contacted the unions for support and asked Soros for some money.
That’s why we play catch up.
They define the game or we’re all racists.

Reply to  Mary Kay Barton
September 17, 2014 6:28 pm

BlueGreen Alliance
Board of Directors:
Leo W. Gerard, International President, United Steel Workers
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
The USW is a big promoter of wind turbines and related steel infrastructure for IWTs as this produces jobs for USW members. This also includes steel structures for transmission lines.

Reply to  Mary Kay Barton
September 17, 2014 7:19 pm

Tony Mazzocchi Center, June 19, 2014
BlueGreen Alliance Executive Director, David Foster, announced he will be joining the Department of Energy as Senior Advisor to Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Kim Glas, will join the BlueGreen Alliance as Executive Director.

September 17, 2014 6:55 am

In other news, it has been reported that the computer hard drives crashed for all the IRS employees who received the formal referral from the Energy & Environment Legal Institute.

Leo Morgan
September 17, 2014 7:15 am

I feel so foolish.
I knew they were corrupt as to further their ‘noble cause’, but I hadn’t thought it through.
I had no reason to think they would stop short of financial dishonesty. Given their view of the importance of the cause, why did I ever assume they would they be satisfied with merely omitting evidence that contradicts their views and misrepresenting science?

September 17, 2014 7:16 am

With the current occupants of the DOJ and the IRS? Expect this to go straight into the circular file.

September 17, 2014 7:20 am

I wonder what percentage of government employees are bona fide card carrying members of green NGOs?
Are more government employee union members also members of NGOs?
How does it compare with the general population and NGO membership?
Boggles the mind at times.

Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 7:30 am

Amongst the rank and file, I don’t know. But as you move up the ladder, it pretty much becomes mandatory. The green/socialists control the bureaucracy and they only permit fellow travelers to advance.

Tom T
Reply to  MarkW
September 17, 2014 9:45 am

Once a traveler makes it to a position of authority its time to move on because only fellow travelers will be promoted from there on out. Once they get control they lock the door and throw away the key.

September 17, 2014 7:25 am

Anyone who believes that the IRS is actually going to investigate these charges just hasn’t been paying attention recently.
I predict a full and intrusive audit in Energy & Environment Legal Institute near future.

Evan Jones
Reply to  MarkW
September 17, 2014 9:34 am

Ah, beat me to it.
I think this war needs to be fought in the journals, in the labs, in the field.
That’s where I’m putting my sweat equity. Meanwhile politicians will pigpile; that’s all they’re good for. Don’t mistake the brightly colored tail for the dog.

Michael Moon
September 17, 2014 7:28 am

Switching from coal to natural gas is a good thing. I interviewed with Detroit Edison at their Taylor, MI coal-fired power plant, huge coal yard, huge pulverizers, huge bag houses to filter the ash. The engineer showed me the alternative fuel supply, a single natural gas pipe, no de-rate whatsoever if they switched over. Many coal plants have this feature. If it is economic this is a benefit to all.

Reply to  Michael Moon
September 17, 2014 8:07 am

If the switch to gas is economic, I am all in favor of it.
Designing a hybrid plant is a great idea. Burn a mix of Nat Gas and coal. Adjust the mix as prices and deliverability change. Come a Polar Vortex and Nat Gas deliverables become tight, dial back the Nat Gas mix and dial up the coal conveyor, and sell your contracted gas back to the pipeline company at spot prices. LET THE MARKET WORK!
The problem is a tyrannical EPA with a mindset, if not a mandate, to eliminate coal for the econsystem. That that are supported politically and financially by producers of Nat Gas, Solar Panels, Wind Turbines, makes it no less tyrannical and idiotic in the long term. Thousands of people who have invested their lives in the mining and delivery of coal are irreparably harmed.

Evan Jones
Reply to  Stephen Rasey
September 17, 2014 9:36 am

Mindest beat mandate four times out of five.

Reply to  Michael Moon
September 17, 2014 8:43 am

Fine — if gas is cheaper. Problem is, gas-plants are dependent on gas-compressors upstream for supply, sometimes hundreds of miles away. If the power at the compressors fails (or demand exceeds compressor/pipe-capacity), the plant derates or shuts down immediately.
Coal plants store coal & can operate independently for weeks to months.

Michael Moon
Reply to  beng
September 17, 2014 8:53 am

Natural Gas pipeline compressors run on Natural Gas-fueled engines, surprisingly enough. These large More-Complete-Expansion engines, similar to the Atkinson Cycle engines available on some cars today, are extremely efficient and burn the material they pump. Power requirements are minimal.

Andrew Russell
Reply to  beng
September 17, 2014 12:01 pm

Michael Moon: Most natural gas pipeline compressor are actually Brayton Cycle engines – gas turbines. I.E., jet engines used for shaft-power applications. See the industrial gas turbine product lines of General Electric or Solar Turbines.

Reply to  beng
September 19, 2014 11:59 am

Arguments of efficiency of compressors does not address the fact there are real capacity constraints on the deliverability of nat gas when it is cold and you and everyone else in the city wants more. Nat Gas can be stored, but not as easily nor as cheaply and safely as a pile of coal.

Reply to  Michael Moon
September 17, 2014 2:18 pm

DTE does not have a coal-fired plant in Taylor, MI.

Reply to  tgasloli
September 17, 2014 5:50 pm

And DTE has some old boilers that will need replacement soon. So switching to natural gas won’t help. An old boiler is an old boiler whether fired by gas or coal.

September 17, 2014 7:36 am

Years ago a spelunker who had an experience with
some Sierra Club types described them to me as “thugs” .
This concerns another incident so you can judge for yourself whether they are thugs:
A small operating company had some oil production on acerage that was contiguous with Galveston Bay.These wells began producing salt water as oil wells do when they start depleting. The company sought a permit to discharge the brine into Galveston Bay. To obtain this permit this company had to apply to three different regulatory agencies for approval. One was the EPA. Two of the agencies approved the application. The EPA gave no response for months.
Finally, one fine day, a fellow appeared at their company’s HQ in Houston. “I am from the Sierra Club” says this fellow “and we of the Sierra Club oppose your application for the permit to discharge oil field brine into Galveston Bay. However, if you will contribute $50,000 to the Sierra Club we will withdraw that opposition.”
The company drilled a salt water disposal well. This occurred over 20 years ago and I am told by those who know that such tactics have been standard with Sierra Club types for much longer than that and that the Sierra Club misses no opportunity to extort money in this way. It meant nothing to them that oil field brine might be harmful for Galveston Bay so no doubt they are prepared to sell any cause down the river. I think that “thugs” fits well as a descriptive term for these types. They have gotten rich off of their thuggery.

September 17, 2014 8:01 am

Bootleggers and Baptists is much older than 31 years, but it is a very apt phrase.

Reply to  Bob Greene
September 17, 2014 9:01 am

Agreed as anyone who has Appalachian roots can concur.

Reply to  Bob Greene
September 17, 2014 10:47 am

That’s a description of my ancestors.

September 17, 2014 8:02 am

The IRS will investigate the SIerra Club as soon as they are finished with the Tea Party.

Reply to  tadchem
September 17, 2014 8:08 am

Most people I ask don’t even know what TEA stands for. For the record it stands for Taxed Enough Already.

Reply to  ossqss
September 17, 2014 9:24 am

And as the Bostonians could also tell you, GOLF stands for “gentlemen only, ladies forbidden.”

george e. smith
Reply to  ossqss
September 17, 2014 2:01 pm

And Posh; as in POSH, stands for: “Port Out, Starboard Home.”
It came about during the British colonial era, when British Toffs, would sail out to India, to hunt Bengal tigers. Nowadays, Golf has replaced tiger hunting.
So heading East from Britain around the COGH, the sun would be south and therefore on the starboard side of the ship; and bloody hot. But returning to England after bagging a striped cat, one would be going West and now need to be on the Starboard side of the ship.
So you booked your passage; “Port Out, Starboard Home”, if you wanted to travel in style and comfort; in other words, POSH.
Obama no doubt travels POSH.
[Rather, through the Mediterranean, past Gibraltar and through the Suez Canal. .mod]

September 17, 2014 8:02 am

mpainter, in my public library in the UK, books on Climate Change are right next to the books on crime, so a well known CC book is 5 spaces away from “A History of the Mafia”. How appropriate, both involve protection rackets and summary “justice” for those that cross the family.

September 17, 2014 8:05 am

This is another “Oh the Pain” moment in ecoego history.
These same folks played a significant role in creating a no wake zone in a local river here to protect the Manatee’s. It was blindly passed even though there is a dam down stream that the Manatee’s can’t get past unless they knew how to fly. Unbelievable!

Reply to  ossqss
September 17, 2014 1:09 pm

Oh, the new manatee?

September 17, 2014 8:44 am

I did a search on Google for E&E Legal, and Goocle says “This site may be hacked”.

Reply to  littlepeaks
September 17, 2014 12:00 pm

Clear case of bias. Another reason to dump google.

September 17, 2014 9:11 am

If this administration can pass out waivers that allow select businesses to avoid the healthcare law, what’s to stop them from waiving IRS requirements for select groups and cronies? Until Congress does something to stop them from abusing the laws Congress passes, can’t we expect them to continue using selective enforcement against political enemies and waiving enforcement for donors and friends like the Sierra Club?

Reply to  Louis
September 17, 2014 12:01 pm

Hopefully the lawsuit will work.
What other recourse do we have that doesn’t include pitchforks?
Congress is powerless without SCOTUS and this is where it has to go.
It’s two branches of government against one.
Executive / Judicial / Legislative .
Wonder which way they’ll swing?

Rhoda R
Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 12:41 pm

Depends on November, doesn’t it?

September 17, 2014 9:11 am

gaggme is a tool of the panopticon. any perceived interference with other government tools – sierra club, eg, will be immediately attacked by matrix police – throwing this message up in front of web browsers is an ongoing and immediate response to orders from above by gaggme. the leviathan will use flyswatters until some small court agrees with these poor idealists – then will come the individual and group harassment from a multitude of demon alphabet agencies.
[??? .mod]

Reply to  thebillyc
September 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Um… Waitress? I’ll have what he’s having.

Reply to  thebillyc
September 17, 2014 12:44 pm

My thinking hasn’t been that tangled since the 60s

more soylent green!
September 17, 2014 9:13 am

Won’t matter. If anything, they will work out something and at most get an administrative slap on the wrist.
Our laws are selectively enforced. While not necessarily germane to the Sierra Club situation, we have so many laws (and regulations) that most people don’t know they are violators and law enforcement and the courts can’t possibly handle it if the laws were enforced as written. What we have instead is arbitrary, selective enforcement, often based upon personal whims, career ambitions or political aspirations of the enforcers.
Please see

Evan Jones
Reply to  more soylent green!
September 17, 2014 9:42 am

We used to call that “Igor the Fink” laws back in the Slobinpolit Zhurnal days. To enter the Isthmus of Crispness, you had to sign a document admitting to being that notorious outlaw. (Then if you pissed off any of the authorities, you were confronted with the confession and immediately executed.)

more soylent green!
Reply to  Evan Jones
September 17, 2014 11:56 am

Not knowing the reference, I Googled ‘Slobipolit Zhurnal.’ You know what Google found? Your comment!

September 17, 2014 9:20 am

The ATI renamed itself the Energy & Environmental Legal Institute.. Schnare is still a main participant. I find their challenge to Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation fiscal behavior very interesting.
Calling Mandia of the Union of Concerned Scientists, be alert for providing legal defense funds needed for the Sierra Club.

Evan Jones
September 17, 2014 9:24 am

“Baptists” point to the moral high ground and give vital and vocal endorsement of laudable public benefits. Bootleggers are simply in it for the money.
The phrase also was a sardonic reference to the fact that during prohibition, there was a backdoor exception to applejack. (Mencken referred to it all as not a war on alcohol, but merely a war on the civilized consumption thereof.)
But all this political stuff makes still makes me worry. Don’t be surprised if the response to all this is to audit the HI.

September 17, 2014 9:42 am

This is not surprising, since the unholy relationship between big business and the governent has been getting more unholy as each year passes. It is not just eco-for-profit-interests, even though their lever for getting the government to do their bidding is the farce sometimes called Global Warming.
So when is a sum of money a donation vs. a profit? When the executive branch in charge allows it to be so through it’s influence on the IRS.

Robert of Ottawa
September 17, 2014 9:44 am

I’m sure the IRS and DoJ will get right on it /sarc

September 17, 2014 10:49 am

Thanks for finally talking about >Sierra Club and Sierra Club Foundation Accused
of Tax Law Violations; Liked it!

September 17, 2014 10:57 am

Different but similar investigations happening here in Canada, as many of these eco organizations (David Suzuki Foundation, etc.) have charitable status under Canadian Tax Law. Now don’t expect me to be able to explain the nuances of tax law, but in essence donations to these organizations are tax-deductible which means an effective subsidy. The question is why should a lobby group have charitable status just like an organization that provides the poor with food and clothing. Naturally, the eco-lobby groups are outraged, claiming political interference, etc.

Reply to  PaulH
September 17, 2014 12:09 pm

Fair Tax
No exceptions, period.

Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 1:19 pm

Won’t work. It eliminates deductions for home mortgages and many other necessities. The flat rate is 23%. How long until the great and powerful government decides to make it 24%? And 25%? Soon, we’d all be paying the same highest rate as before, but without any shelters. Just another bad idea, like not buying gas on Wednesdays.

September 17, 2014 11:07 am

Part of what pains me about this story is the fact that Chesapeake Energy, which paid $26m to the Sierra Club to undermine the coal industry, is a HUGE recipient of taxpayer subsidies. They have paid an effective tax rate of less than 1% on $5.5b of taxable profits. This is nothing less than the work of the Green Mafia, and it’s subsidized by us.

Reply to  Mike Kinville
September 17, 2014 12:48 pm

If you make them raise their taxes congress will let them raise their prices to cover it.
We lose either way.

September 17, 2014 11:08 am

green crooks

john robertson
September 17, 2014 11:29 am

More kleptocracy.
Easiest way to power, seize the bureaus and hide in the woodwork.
The Brits has a sitcom Yes Minister, that gently mocked this, but we can no longer afford the bite being put on us.
Those fundamentals of civilization are always the first things cast aside in the name of great causes and self enrichment.
The level of corruption at the Sierra Club must be unpalatable.. as evidenced by that Polar Bear which pulled a SC lawyer out of his tent and then spat him out.
However this corruption is government.
Unless kept on a strict diet and mandate, government is a cancer.
Simply because it is so easy for ethically challenged persons to thrive inside the bureaus.
It may be a necessary prerequisite for those seeking these positions.
Same reason our Progressives are comparable to RUST.

Mac the Knife
September 17, 2014 11:48 am

Charges could and should be brought against Sierra Club in each and every State they failed to pay state and local income/business taxes. Every State should initiate a tax evasion suit against Sierra Club, forcing them to spend their legal resources (money and manpower) on a host of court cases, and endeavor to bankrupt them by legal expenses, recovered taxes plus interest, and penalties.
Especially large penalties…..
This is the same method Sierra Club uses to delay pipelines and prevent private and public lands from economic use. Turnabout is fair play! And would be sweetly ironic justice!

September 17, 2014 12:12 pm

Mac the Knife,
IMHO, that’s where they should have started. If local jurisdictions rule that taxes are due, that is harder for state and federal jurisdictions to reverse.
But if the feds don’t stop these shenanigans, the locals don’t have much chance of collecting their taxes.

September 17, 2014 12:41 pm

“The IRS Is No Longer Needed
No more complicated tax forms, individual audits, or intrusive federal bureaucracy. Retailers will collect the FairTax just as they do now with state sales taxes. All money will be collected and remitted to the U.S. Treasury, and both the retailers and states will be paid a fee for their collection service.”

more soylent green!
Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 2:08 pm

If find this “No need for an IRS” argument ludacris. If there are taxes, there will always be an agency to collect them. Call it what you want, there will be some part of the government to collect taxes and enforce the laws.
Even states with no income tax have revenue departments.

george e. smith
Reply to  mikerestin
September 17, 2014 2:09 pm

There is nothing fair about the FAIR tax.
Old retired folks, having been taxed on their profits from profitable enterprise, all of their lives, look forward to the end of income, and income taxes, so they can retire on what they were able to protect from stupid taxes on savings.
So now you FAIR goons, have figured out how to keep taxing them to death, by switching from taxing a renewable resource (income), to taxing a fixed and rapidly losing to inflation retirement nest egg.
A px on you and your FAIR tax. You can only tax a profit making and renewable resource, which is income.

Reply to  george e. smith
September 18, 2014 5:19 am

I’m not sure what a px is or why you called me a goon. I’m not even in a union.
If you want less profit making, income and savings…tax it. I believe that’s how economists say the system works.
Some people believe since retirement money has already been taxed they’re done.
Consumers (including seniors) currently pay corporation business taxes, plus the employer and employee federal taxes (and more) every time they purchase anything.
The FairTax is replacement, not reform!
It replaces federal income taxes including personal, estate, gift, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare, self-employment, and corporate taxes. Federal taxes are replaced by a single federal sales tax at the point of sale.
A great feature is it will eliminate congress’ ability manipulate the tax code for favors.
It will remove the IRS need for personal data collection and help take the IRS out of our lives. They won’t need to know how much money you make or even how you make it. Your salary and benefits are between you and you employer. Money is taxed when it is spent so if you’re an illegal alien, a Wall Street broker, in some other bookmaking business, a pastor in a church or a kidnapper you will pay federal taxes and the government will get their vig. No exceptions.
What concerns me is you’re sounding like the folks in congress that got us in this financial mess.
They don’t like the FairTax either but, I understand their reason.
Do you have a workable solution that can slow down government growth?
I’m pro Fair Tax but mostly anti IRS and government reach.
The FairTax is a replacement tax. It is not an additional Value Added Tax (VAT).

Reply to  george e. smith
September 18, 2014 5:31 pm

This FairTax is similar to the GST that is collected in Australia and New Zealand. It is not a guarantee of anything in terms of tax collection. All you end up encouraging is a cash based economy. Pay cash = pay no tax.
Simples …

Reply to  george e. smith
September 18, 2014 9:18 pm

I appreciate your position but people already cheat on their taxes.
Congress has the responsibility to levy taxes but they must do it without violating the Constitution.
This is the least intrusive method of collecting necessary taxes.
If I work a 40 hour week at $50/hr I get my $2,000.
It’s impersonal and if millionaires and billionaires want to buy a $25M houseboat pay the tax.
We need to revenue to cover $3B – $4B dollars in spending or slow down congress’ spending.
Please feel free to provide workable suggestions.

September 17, 2014 1:04 pm

It doesn’t matter, neither the IRS nor the DOJ will do anything about it. You notice that none of the MSM has said a word about this issue. There is no way that the Obama administration and the people that work for it are going to do anything but say, “So what, who cares what E&E Legal thinks?”

Reply to  Baronstone
September 18, 2014 9:20 pm

I find it amazing it doesn’t even bother you that we are getting shafted.
Are we just good little sheeple?

Reply to  mikerestin
September 20, 2014 1:12 pm

I think you read my comment entirely incorrectly. I am pointing out that it doesnt matter, because the government isn’t about to do anything that will damage the reputation of the Sierra Club and there is nothing that normal people can do to fix the problem short of asking god to hit it with an asteroid.

charles nelson
September 17, 2014 3:56 pm

On what basis was the particular ‘solar panel installation company’ chosen for each particular ‘franchise’?
One would like to think that these were companies that delivered a high quality product, good value for money, extended warranties and excellent after sales service!

David Schnare
Reply to  charles nelson
September 18, 2014 4:55 am

The marketplace is the mechanism to guarantee all that. We don’t need either the government or the Sierra Club to make our decisions on such investments.

September 18, 2014 3:34 pm

“A section 501(c)(3) organization must not be organized or operated for the benefit of private interests, such as the creator or the creator’s family, shareholders of the organization, other designated individuals, or persons controlled directly or indirectly by such private interests.” – the IRS
The directors at issue are uncompensated which is good, but they are alleged to have ties to for profit companies that do benefit from this ‘campaign’. The campaign is arguably not political but many points of view say that it is with coal being penalized to the benefit of other providers. We are in a gray area of the law it seems to me. When does a charitable campaign become too political? What would lead the Sierra Club back onto safer ground? Get some new directors without ties to companies that would benefit from the demise of coal.

September 19, 2014 9:57 am

Well, I guess that is what happens when the IRS is focused only on “Radical Right Wing” groups. The left knew this, and knew they had a free pass to do whatever they liked.

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