Thursday, November 13, 2008

Charity, Charity, all is Charity

The CEI website of November 1996 ( reports:
The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) is a pro-market, public policy group committed to advancing the principles of free enterprise and limited government... A non-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, CEI relies entirely on donations from corporations, foundations, and private individuals with an interest in restoring individual liberties and economic freedom. All contributions are tax deductible.
In the crappier news sources, the lie reads:
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information about CEI, please visit our website at
According to the rules:
All section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.
A proper enforcement of the law would find evidence that there has never been anything non-partisan about the CEI, which would hopefully cause a recovation of their tax-free status and a bill for all their back taxes.

Lately, Myron Ebell can't even be bothered to cover up this 22 year sham as the Republican party swings one final kick into the ball-sack of the body politic:
Last May, White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten instructed federal agency heads to make sure any new regulations were finalized by Nov. 1. The memo didn’t spell it out, but the thinking behind the directive was obvious. As Myron Ebell of the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute put it: "We’re not going to make the same mistakes the Clinton administration did."
It's been a good steady run for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Their webpage back in April 2000 ( reported:
CEI has grown into a $3,000,000 institution with a team of nearly 40 policy experts and other staff. We are nationally recognized as a leading voice on a broad range of regulatory issues ranging from environmental laws to antitrust policy to regulatory risk.
In December 2005 ( this became:
Since its founding in 1984, CEI has grown into a $3,000,000 institution with a team of over 20 policy experts and other staff.
And this was still the case in February 2008 ( But today it's become:
Since its founding in 1984, CEI has grown into a $5,000,000 institution with a team of over 30 policy experts and other staff.
Maybe it's something to do with that billion dollar election they are "absolutely prohibited" from participating in.

What success!

Apart from their "Donate to us" link, they've joined the Charity Navigator which gives us the benefit of finding out that their "primary revenue" has been $3,058,978 for 2003; $2,885,249 for 2004; $3,208,102 for 2005 and $3,683,967 for 2006 ($199,700 of which went to Fred Smith who sometimes tries his hand at comedy)

So the figures to 2006 are at least consistent, though not showing up the point Exxon claimed to have stopped funding them -- though of course they make no apology for the ten years of irreparable damage wrought previously.

The Myron Ebell has been banging on about coal quite a bit, so it is reasonable to assume that their $2million hike this year reported on their slim "About" page comes from that killer industry.

It's good value for these corporations. Not only do they get a better bang for their buck by paying another organization to spread lies on their behalf (though the connection is plausibly denied), they get the tax back on their expenses.

The Myron Ebell Climate blog soldiers on until this sickly "Institute" closes down and all its staff have been prosecuted in the court of public opinion. (Hey, it's only white collar crime, what do you expect?) What they have done in terms of the survivability of the human species on this planet is probably worse than working as atomic weapons designers.


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