28 Jan 2011, 11:59pm
Latest Wildlife News
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We Are All Funding Anti-Hunting Groups

Extremist environmental groups often get their legal fees reimbursed by the federal government under the Equal Justice Act

By David Hart, American Hunter, 1/12/2011 [here]

How would you like to make a donation to the anti-hunting movement? You wouldn’t, of course, but like it or not, you already have. In 2007, for example, $280,000 of your tax dollars went directly to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)—the nation’s preeminent anti-hunting group—after HSUS successfully stopped the delisting of wolves from the Endangered Species Act in Minnesota.

Yes, your tax money is going straight to anti-hunting groups that file lawsuits to end legal hunting opportunities. If that’s not enough, taxpayers gave more than $436,000 to anti-hunting groups for blocking wolf management in the northern Rockies. All told, 13 environmental and anti-hunting groups, like Defenders of Wildlife, sued the federal government 1,159 times in the last 10 years and were reimbursed an estimated $34 million in legal fees from the federal government. Many of those suits had a direct impact on your freedom to hunt.

“It’s the best-kept secret in the environmental community,” says Boone and Crockett Club president Lowell Baier.

Here’s how it works: Two sources of federal money provide reimbursement for legal fees for any individual or organization that files a lawsuit against the federal government and wins. One, called the Judgment Fund, is a congressional line-item appropriation used solely for cases related to the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act, among others.

Karen Budd-Falen, a property-rights attorney from Wyoming who has tracked the rising tide of enviro-litigation, discovered that over $1 billion in payments from the Judgment Fund went out in just the first half of 2007 alone. Not all of it went to environmental groups, but plenty did.

“It’s hard to tell because the federal government is not required to track individual payments,” she says.

The second method is through the Equal Access to Justice Act, which was aimed at helping individuals and small businesses take on the federal government. The EAJA prohibits reimbursement to for-profit corporations worth more than $7 million; however, non-profit groups are exempt. It’s not as though the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), which filed at least 409 lawsuits and 165 appeals in federal courts in the last 10 years, needs the money. They claimed a net income of $9 million and net assets of more than $6 million in 2008. Defenders of Wildlife raked in $30.7 million from members’ donations, from reimbursed legal fees and from other sources in 2008. HSUS then had about $162 million in net assets; nevertheless, HSUS received nearly $1.5 million from the federal government for 15 legal cases. … [more]



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