21 Jun 2010 Group Calls on Recipients of BP Grants and Contributions to Return Donations for Use in Cleanup
Washington, DC – In light of recent reports that BP may go bankrupt paying claims for damages and cleanup of the Gulf oil spill, The National Center for Public Policy Research today called on organizations and individuals that have received contributions from BP or its affiliated foundation in recent years to return these donations, or to contribute them to a reputable, independent Gulf cleanup fund.
“It is now well-established that when politicians and others find themselves in receipt of donations of dubious or inappropriate origin, they return those donations,” said David A. Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Donations were returned to Goldman Sachs after that firm was charged with civil fraud. Numerous Florida politicians returned donations from a law firm charged with operating a Ponzi scheme. President Obama returned donations from his aunt, an illegal alien, and from a man charged with murder before the latter’s conviction, and very many donations were returned to Enron, among others.”
“The argument for returning the money in this situation is even more compelling than most, in light of the fact that the full cleanup effort may not occur if BP goes bankrupt. Nobody thought that Goldman Sachs was going to go belly up. Returning BP’s money to assist cleanup efforts and help those harmed by the leak would respect both the moral imperative and the environmental imperative,” added David Ridenour.
According to published reports, major environmental advocacy organizations in receipt of major gifts from BP in recent years include the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund, the World Resources Institute, various branches of the Audubon Society, the Wildlife Habitat Council and others. Very many politicians from both political parties also have received contributions.
“It is not appropriate to on the one hand to criticize BP for taking what appear to have been shortcuts with safety and environmental needs while at the same time profiting from BP’s business model,” said Amy Ridenour, president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “And it’s not as if returning the BP grants would cause these institutions to close their doors. The Nature Conservancy reported nearly $1.4 billion in revenue in 07-08, against about $900 million in expenses, with net assets of nearly $5 billion. The World Wildlife Fund raised $10 million more in FYE 2008 than it spent, and had nearly $300 million in net assets. The World Resources Institute had over $50 million in net assets.”
“These environmental organizations are to the non-profit community what the Fortune 100 is to the business community,” Amy Ridenour continued. “Even the least known of these groups, the Wildlife Habitat Council, reported revenue of $2.9 million for FYE 2009, with the publicly-reported BP monies they received totaling far less than their net assets.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit, free market foundation based in Washington, D.C. It is a truly independent organization, receiving 98% of its funding from individuals through hundreds of thousands of donations. No individual, foundation, or company provides the organization with more than a fraction of one percent of its annual revenue.