The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) has filed a complaint with the IRS and FBI regarding alleged abuses of the tax code and/or criminal activity by PETA, Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), and Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation. According to CCF, these radical organizations have been actively lobbying for local and statewide bans on the sale of fur in California. The statewide ban, Assembly Bill 44, has already passed two committees.
The complaint alleges a pattern of criminal activity and abuse of non-profit status:
- Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, a co-sponsor of A.B. 44, has been accused of leaving dogs to die horribly in Asia instead of rescuing them—the group’s supposed charitable mission. Its Executive Director also served time in California prison for felony kidnapping.
- Direct Action Everywhere, which lobbies for A.B. 44, breaks into farms and terrorizes farmers. The group has also intimidated shoppers at Whole Foods, Chipotle, and other businesses. Its actions may well be in violation of the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act. The group’s activists are facing criminal charges in several states. DxE is funded by a tax-exempt charity called Friends of DxE.
- PETA has given tax-exempt donations to fund the efforts of Direct Action Everywhere. PETA has also given money to the Earth Liberation Front (considered a domestic terrorist group by the FBI) and to defend an arsonist who burned down a university laboratory. PETA activists have also been arrested on numerous occasions.
Tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations must serve charitable purposes. The complaint alleges these activities are contradictory to IRS rules.
In addition, the federal Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act prohibits anyone from “damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise” while engaged in interstate activity—a statute DxE may have violated.
Will Coggin, managing director of the Center for Consumer Freedom, commented, “Harassing people in restaurants, deceptive fundraising, and breaking the law are not charitable activities. It’s past time for authorities to crack down on this charade.”