Stories in this series:
- From the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico, a new Truther movement is born
- EXCLUSIVE: What’s really going on with Project Gulf Impact?
- Continuing the investigation into Project Gulf Impact: Questions, questions, questions
- Project Gulf Impact and passing the “smell test.”
Last night, Project Gulf Impact posted these two documents on their website:
The Statement of Incorporation contains details that are inconsistent with the query results found earlier this week at the California Secretary of State’s website, and the dates of filing on the two documents are years apart. However, PGI deserves the benefit of the doubt here. I wrote yesterday that if “PGI’s principals provide documentation showing that they are indeed a legitimate charitable organization and that the use of funds were consistent with the stated goals of the organization,” I’d post it. They’ve answered the first request well enough and that chapter is closed.
Interestingly, a few hours after these documents appeared, an accusatory and obscenity-laden diatribe was posted anonymously on yesterday’s comment section, and both site traffic monitors used here pegged the originating IP address to a location in Burbank, California. Draw your own conclusions there, but the post was deleted and the comments section closed. Let’s behave like reasonable, well-centered grownups here.
While the SOI and Bylaws answer the questions raised regarding PGI’s operation under a legitimate corporate umbrella, a number of other key matters remain unresolved. Specifically:
Why was PGI’s donation page significantly altered after PGI was contacted with a request for information about it? PGI made significant changes to their primary fundraising solicitation document—the document they used to solicit the charitable contributions—but only after being alerted that someone was digging. More troubling is the fact that the changes made to that document removed all of the language that described how the organization would use those funds—after the bulk of the funds were raised.
If I were going to make a donation to a charitable organization, I’d want to know exactly how the organization planned to use my money. Wouldn’t you? And, if the organization suddenly changed its plans to something I was less comfortable with after I’d made my donation—or removed language describing those plans altogether—I’d be pretty upset. Wouldn’t you?
One of the stated objectives was to “provide teach-ins and workshops on health-related issues.” How many of these events were held? What were the dates and locations of these events?
Another of the stated objectives was “to provide aid in the way of supplies, gas cards and other necessary materials for Gulf residents.” What supplies were provided? Meals? Clothing? Medicine? Infant formula? How many gas cards were purchased? What were the denominations? Who were they distributed to? Did PGI conduct any type of eligibility testing to insure that only those truly in need received these resources? It’s unthinkable that PGI went down to Plaquemines Parish Louisiana and simply threw money into the air.
“Health hazards and prevention will be the primary focus,” PGI’s website said. What specific health hazards were the focus, and how did PGI endeavor to prevent them? Did they distribute TyVek© suits? Gas masks and respirators? To whom? The website also makes a bare allegation that “residents are currently breathing and being poisoned by toxic elements.” What data has PGI collected to document the alleged poisoning of residents? Have those data been analyzed in controlled scientific investigations? What were the results?
The website also flatly stated that “funding will also be used towards independent air and water testing.” Who are the independent labs PGI used to conduct the air and water tests? What were the sampling procedures used? What were the testing protocols employed? What were the results? How did those results compare with the results of extensive air and water sampling performed by EPA? EPA’s results found no significant human health hazards. Does PGI’s data dispute those results?
Who are the “doctors and experts” that PGI were allegedly connected with? How was their independence determined? What were their qualifications? Are they physicians licensed to practice medicine in the states PGI visited, or are they quacks? What in their curriculum vitae establishes that they are suitably qualified to serve as experts, and what exactly were they consulted about? What were their conclusions? Have their data, analyses and conclusions been peer-reviewed? Are their analyses published in any scientific journal?
The number one priority in the now-deleted statements was to “get back down to the Gulf.” PGI felt that was so important, it was stated twice. And, by all accounts they did indeed get back down to the Gulf. What did they do? The aspiring actor, the Southern Cal grad student and the grad student’s girlfriend promptly threw a party for themselves and a few dozen of their very best friends.
Two other questions regarding PGI’s objectivity should be addressed as well. It’s already been established that Mr. Garrison produced a government-funded documentary on global climate change. It’s also been established that PGI has “partnered” with Coffee Party USA, an astroturfed leftist response to the much larger conservative-minded Tea Party grassroots movement that will likely shape the November 2010 election. And, the aspiring actor’s address to the Netroots Nation 2010 Convention firmly establishes a relationship with that left wing organization.
Remember the last paragraph of the organization’s bylaws (dated October 5, 2006):
Unlike other non-profits, Coffee Party USA is a 501(c)(4) organization, and its contributions are NOT tax deductible. 501(c)(4) organizations do actively participate and intervene in political campaigns, and can spend money on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office. Many of the self-described “grass roots” organizations associated with Net Roots are 501(c)(4) corporations, as well.
It’s difficult to conclude that PGI has violated its own bylaws through formal relationships with left wing political fundraising organizations. It’s a fine line, and PGI seems to have come awfully close to it. Regardless of whether that line has been crossed, PGI’s relationship with Netroots Nation and Coffee Party USA, combined with Mr. Garrison’s climate change filmography makes one wonder what the real agenda is.
Is it really about improving the plight of Gulf Coast residents, or is it about pushing a radical, leftwing environmental agenda?