Center for Security Policy investigates finances of peace groups
The following comes to us from Bruce Gagnon of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space:
November 15, 2002
Mr. Frank Gaffney
Center for Security Policy
1920 L St NW #210
Washington DC 20036
Dear Mr. Gaffney:
Enclosed please find a copy of our organization's IRS Form 990 for 2001 that was requested by your staff member Colleen Gilbert when she called our office on November 12.
Imagine my surprise to learn that the conservative Center for Security Policy wanted a copy of our annual financial affairs! Why in the world, I asked myself, would Frank Gaffney want to know the details of our meager state of finances? It just didn't compute. After all, our $57,525 in expenses last year is probably about what your organization spends on copy paper each year as you send out your reports to Congress and the media alerting them that "rogue" states are likely to attack the U.S. at any moment.
I was so surprised by this request that I sent an e-mail out to several list serves asking if other organizations had been similarly contacted by your organization. I was amazed to hear that indeed several others had been contacted by the Center for Security Policy requesting their financial data. Wow, I guess we are having more of an effect than I had imagined if you were using valuable staff time and resources to check up on us all! But what would you want the information for? Surely you don't need to know who our funding sources are since you are well endowed by the big aerospace corporations and right-wing foundations.
But after several responses to my e-mail inquiry it all came clear. According to those who responded, your organization has written reports and articles and published them in places like the Philanthropy Round Table about the "dreadful" things peace groups are doing with their funds. In addition you have apparently tried to prove that they are using their money to lobby Congress beyond the legal limits for tax exempt organizations.
Well I want to save you some time here. God knows you have more important things to do these days. The Global Network gets no big money from any foundations. We are strictly a hand-to-mouth operation that gets its support from friendly and peaceful people. And with legislation, while we admit that we'd love to see the "Outer Space Preservation Act" pass through the House, it is highly unlikely that it will happen as long as the aerospace corporation lobby has run of the place.
Our strategy, as you might have already figured out, is to reach out to the people around the world and try to change their consciousness about space. We hope that through a global education and action campaign that we will be able to create a constituency that understands the dangers of moving the arms race into space. As Cesar Chavez used to say, when referring to the power of the agribusiness industry, "Yeah they have all the money and the power in Washington. But we have the people. And if people don't buy their grapes or lettuce anymore we can win." So we figure that if people around the world don't buy the Star Wars line, the rogue state nonsense, then in the end we can win. I don't think that public education is an illegal activity under the IRS code, at least not yet.
Now I admit Mr. Gaffney that with the new Republican control and domination of the House and Senate things are looking up for your plans for Star Wars. Your organization, your aerospace corporation allies, and George W. Bush are all set to move things forward dramatically. We know that social spending will be slashed and funds moved into space weapons research and development in big ways. But we just have this faith that in the end the people will see the picture for what it is. We've got to do our best to keep the flame of peace alive.
I've been told by informed legal sources that by law we must provide you with the requested IRS Form 990. But I'm also advised that by law we can ask you to reimburse our costs in copying and mailing the requested information to you. So please do send us $2.20 to cover our costs. I'm sure you will understand our financial situation and I'm certain the expense won't hurt your organization too much.
Bruce K. Gagnon
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space, PO Box 90083, Gainesville, FL 32607 (352) 337-9274
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