Oily Fingers?

Splashed below the fold on the front page of The Wall Street Journal today is a piece on how Irving-based ExxonMobil may have sparked an Internal Revenue Service audit of Greenpeace, challenging the environmental organization's tax-exempt status. The spark: a letter to the IRS from Public Interest Watch, a group that styles itself a watch dog of non-profits. According to the WSJ, a letter was sent from PIW to the IRS in September 2003 charging that Greenpeace, which has labeled ExxonMobil the world's No. 1 climate criminal, had laundered nearly $25 million in tax-deductible contributions--one month after Exxon began dispersing $120,000 in contributions to PIW, or 97 percent of PIW's funding for the period ending July 2004. Upshot? Greenpeace was cleared by the IRS, and its tax-exempt status was left unchanged. Now I'm as willing as the next Clooney to attribute all global evils to Big Oil and revel in oily conspiracies big and small--even as we guiltlessly demand and guzzle its products. But this is a front-page story? --Mark Stuertz

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