PennFuture's Lobbying

Hypocritical, unethical, and possibly illegal

JULY 8, 2010 | Policy Brief by PAUL CHESSER

PennFuture lobbying 071210

Introduction

PennFuture (a.k.a. Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future), the organization founded by Pennsylvania Secretary of Environmental Protection John Hanger over 10 years ago, frequently criticizes the lobbying by traditional energy industries. But a close look at the environmental activist group shows at least questionable and hypocritical, if not unethical or illegal, advocacy practices.

While the organization condemns the natural gas industry for its lobbying against increased and selective taxation of its investments, PennFuture has received nearly $1 million during the last five years from alternative energy companies. These companies benefited from PennFuture's lobbying for corporate tax breaks and taxpayer-funded "economic development" funds for wind and solar projects in Pennsylvania.

And even as PennFuture solicited volunteer and member assistance to pressure legislators to pass or oppose specific pieces of legislation, the group reported to the Internal Revenue Service that it spent no money on grassroots lobbying on four of its past five tax returns.

Finally, PennFuture's lobbying of state officials is also funded by the taxpayers. Since 2002, the group has lobbied for and received over $1 million in taxpayer money, which is then used to lobby elected and appointed officials for additional taxpayer money.

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