By Captain Paul Watson
The Red Lobster chain is thrashing about in murky waters with the release by the Center for Public Integrity and the American Public Media's Marketplace of information that links the company to a private foundation that is being investigated for illegal activities.
According to the report, ultra Right wing Republican Congressman Richard Pombo allegedly received $23,000 worth of foreign trips paid for by the International Foundation for the Conservation of Natural Resources. (ICNR)
Talk about your Orwellian monikers. This organization has nothing to do with conservation of natural resources and should be named the International Foundation for the Exploitation of Natural Resources.
The International Foundation for the "Conservation" of Natural Resources is funded primarily by the Orlando based Darden Restaurant chain which owns Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants
From 2000 to 2004, Darden has contributed $574,000 to IFCNR which amounts to more than a third of its support.
The IFCNR has no staff and its headquarters are located at a home address.
The IRS precludes private, non-profit foundations like the IFCNR from funding international travel by government officials and has potentially stiff penalties if trip costs are not reimbursed. The report, a joint effort of the Center for Public Integrity (www.publicintegrity.org) and Marketplace's "Power Trips" series with American RadioWorks, examines the highly unusual organizational structure and business activities of IFCNR.
The IFCNR, whose Web site features numerous articles that attack animal rights and conservation groups, paid for a November 2000 trip to New Zealand and a May 2002 trip to Japan for California Republican Rep. Richard Pombo. Since then, Pombo pushed legislation that critics claim will gut the Endangered Species Act. His staffers have also drafted a working document that suggests some national parks be sold off for development to close the budget gap.
The Center for Public Integrity report includes:
- A chart listing IFCNR's donors and how much they donated
- Links to PDF documents showing IRS rules on paying taxes for foreign trips and copies of the IFCNR's tax filings.
- Links to the text of Pombo's bill to amend the Endangered Species Act recently passed by the House.
- An audio file of Steve Henn's interview with IFCNR President Emeritus Stephen Boynton.
To find local times and stations to hear this report on Marketplace, go here.
To listen to the streaming audio, visit the Marketplace home page,
California rancher Congressman Richard Pombo is a leading advocate in Congress for supporting Japanese whaling. Congressman Pombo was the guest speaker a few years ago at a meeting in Iceland of the World Council for Whalers where he spoke in favor of reviving whaling in the United States and his support for whaling worldwide. He is the leader of the move to gut the Endangered Species Act. He is also in bed with the Fur Commission USA.
What is emerging here is a wide-spread network linking Darden and thus Red Lobster with Congressman Pombo, the Fur Commission USA, the seal slaughter in Canada, illegal Japanese whaling, and the gutting of the Endangered Species Act.
It is no longer just simply that Red Lobster supports the annual Canadian seal slaughter by continuing to purchase Canadian Seafood products, it appears that Red Lobster a.k.a. Darden Foods is also directly involved in efforts to support the killing of whales, the killing of seals and destruction of Endangered Species.
In other words, Red Lobster is no longer just an unwilling accomplice, it appears that they are full members of the anti-nature gang and their hands are smeared with the blood of the whales and the seals in addition to their contribution to the destruction of sealife.
Living lobsters are greenish brown. Red lobsters are dead lobsters and now it appears they are also embarrassed lobsters caught with their claw in the political influence cookie jar, handing out salty pork to allegedly corrupt politicians.