“We did it. We did it. We gave $1,500 to the ELF,” said the president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Lisa Lange, on Tuesday, September 17, 2002.
ELF–the Environmental Liberation Front–is one of America’s largest domestic terrorist groups, according to the FBI. It has a long history of violence including arson, firebombing, explosives, and attempted murder.
Among the payments PETA has admitted giving to radical ELF activists:
- $5,000 to Josh Harper, convicted of assaulting police and firing on a fishing vessel;
- $2,000 to Dave Wilson, convicted of firebombing a fur cooperative;
- $7,500 to Fran Trutt, convicted of attempted murder of a medical executive;
- $20,000 to Rodney Coronado, convicted of burning a research laboratory in Michigan.
In early September, ELF admitted setting fire in August to a U.S. Forest Service laboratory in Pennsylvania. The fire destroyed a 70-year-old research facility and caused an additional $700,000 worth of damage.
PETA, which enjoys IRS tax-exempt status as a “501(c)(3)” charity, has openly endorsed ELF activities. In a recent speech, PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich went on record saying: “I think it would be great if all the fast-food outlets, slaughterhouses, these laboratories and the banks that fund them exploded tomorrow.”
Commenting on PETA’s support of ELF, Terrence Scanlon, president of philanthropy watchdog Capital Research Center (CRC), said: “The law clearly prohibits a charitable organization from advocating acts that break the law. But PETA has gone further than that and admitted providing financial support to a homegrown terrorist organization: an underground group which according to the FBI operates a number of cells throughout the United States.
“At a time when U.S. law enforcement authorities are watching nonprofits linked to Al Qaeda and other foreign terrorist groups, it is unacceptable that PETA continues to enjoy privileged, tax-exempt status while it openly flouts the law and offers financial assistance to a violent and criminal domestic terrorist group.
“Americans will want to know: Why should PETA’s $13 million budget enjoy tax-exempt status? And why should contributions to this group be tax-deductible?”
Commenting on PETA, Daniel Oliver, author of Animal Rights: the Inhumane Crusade, a CRC publication, said, “PETA has a long record of extremism. It’s more eager to violate human rights than protect animal welfare.”
Capital Research Center was established in 1984 to study critical issues in philanthropy, with a special focus on nonprofit “public interest” and public advocacy groups, the funding sources that sustain them, their agendas, and their impact on public policy and society.
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