It Pays To Protest

Enbridge plans to replace an old section of oil pipeline that runs through northern Minnesota. It held an informational meeting in Bemidji, Minnesota, on Tuesday. The meeting was disrupted by a Native American environmental activist named Winona LaDuke. You can see video of her being ejected from the meeting here. LaDuke is identified as the founder of an organization called Honor the Earth.

My colleague at Center of the American Experiment Tom Steward took an interest in the anti-pipeline protest and was curious about Honor the Earth. He comments here. Among other things, Tom looked at Honor the Earth’s form 990, which you can read here.

This tax filing discloses that in 2015, Winona LaDuke was paid compensation of $127,000, while stating that she worked an average of 20 hours a week for the nonprofit organization. Nice work if you can get it! But that rather plush income apparently is not enough for Ms. LaDuke. The form also discloses that Honor the Earth has loaned her $4,325. The reason? “$ shortage.” Honor the Earth does not seem to be well-managed financially. The form 990 further discloses as a “miscellaneous expense” item a “fraudulent money transfer reported to Board of Directors” of $25,500.

As a 501(c)(3) organization, Honor the Earth does not disclose its donors, so we don’t know who, exactly, considers it a good investment to pay Ms. LaDuke $127,000 a year for part-time work. Be that as it may, the protest business is apparently more lucrative than most of us thought.

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