PennFuture’s Revised Lobbying Numbers

After ranting about alleged “egregious errors” in our report about their secret, unreported lobbying expenses and siccing their lawyer on us, PennFuture has finally posted changed (I won’t say “corrected” because we have no idea whether they are accurate or not) versions of their federal tax returns. Here are the numbers they previously reported:

Tax Yr     Direct Lobbying    Grassroots Lobbying

2004-05   $185,511           $0
2005-06   $44,396             $0
2006-07   $70,994             $0
2007-08   $5,944              $0
2008-09   $30,000             $4,257

Here are PennFuture’s revised numbers:

Tax Yr     Direct Lobbying    Grassroots Lobbying

2004-05   No Changes
2005-06   No Changes
2006-07   $60,764             $10,230 (no total change from before)
2007-08   $161,876            $19,254
2008-09   $117,599            $13,183

So, either PennFuture has not gotten to revising their 04-05 and 05-06 tax returns yet, or they are still telling the IRS that they engaged in no grassroots lobbying during those years. And the “mistake” admitted to the Patriot-News by PennFuture president Jan Jarrett (“error” in her own press release) amounted to a difference of $175,186 in total lobbying for 07-08 and $96,525 for 08-09. They were off by only 96.7 percent and 73.8 percent in those years respectively, they say, leaving the impression that they should be dismissed as accounting gaffes.

Keep in mind that PennFuture takes credit for numerous legislative, regulatory and bond issue victories thanks to their vigorous lobbying efforts. Their presidents — John Hanger before and Jarrett now — earn six figures annually and are regulars in Harrisburg, and they also employ another full-time lobbyist. They sponsor lobby days. PennFuture also contracts with one of the most influential Republican lobbying firms in Harrisburg: Commonwealth Strategic Solutions. 

More: One Republican legislator interviewed for our report wrote in an email that he had “voluminous” emails from PennFuture “urging support or opposition to bills and amendments.” Another GOP lawmaker said, “As legislators, we get emails in newsletter form from PennFuture several times a week. I would consider this lobbying.” And Sen. Mary Jo White told the Patriot-News, “If I look at other nonprofits, for example, their lobbying is pretty sporadic. I see PennFuture a lot on just about every environmental issue that comes up.”

Finally, PennFuture has received nearly $1 million from alternative energy companies during the last five years as it repeatedly lobbied for tax breaks, mandates and subsidies for those industries — and again, claiming many victories.

Do their revised numbers align with the robust nature of their lobbying activities? Decide for yourself.