Posted March 6, 2002
Bellevue, Washington - The non-partisan Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise has filed a complaint against Norfolk, Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) with IRS Commissioner Charles O. Rossotti, asking that PETA's privileged non-profit status be revoked for violations of tax laws and connections to unlawful activity.

Center Executive Vice President Ron Arnold said that the 12-page complaint sets out details of PETA --
· Supporting the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), an FBI-declared domestic terrorist group, by acting as a media conduit and providing legal defense funds for a convicted ALF felon linked to PETA;
· Stealing trade secrets;
· Advocating arson; and
· Assaulting business executives

Arnold said PETA is one of the nation’s most notorious animal rights groups. PETA’s philosophy is extreme: “animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment,” according to its Web site. Since its founding in 1980, PETA’s name has been linked to numerous unlawful acts, ranging from highly publicized anti-fur protest demonstrations to undercover theft of business documents to secrecy-shrouded break-ins and university laboratory arsons. PETA has received recent media notice for its funding of the North American Earth Liberation Front -- a group classified by the FBI as domestic terrorists -- and its funding in support of Animal Liberation Front (ALF) arsonist Rodney Coronado -- ALF is also listed by the FBI as domestic terrorists.

The 1995 Government Sentencing Memorandum of convicted ALF felon Rodney Coronado can be found at Memo.htm. Coronado was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for the $2.5 million torching of a Michigan State University animal laboratory and is still on parole. According to the prosecution’s memorandum, Coronado sent a package containing documents from the torched MSU laboratory to the home of longtime PETA member Maria Blanton for PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. The prosecutor wrote, “Newkirk had arranged to have the package delivered to her days before the MSU arson occurred.”

Arnold said, "Why hasn’t the IRS looked into this? Or Congress? PETA continually encourages unlawful acts. PETA people have numerous arrests. Tax exempt status is for charitable purposes. There’s nothing charitable about encouraging arson. Enough is enough. PETA should be stripped of its tax exempt status.”

Center President Alan Gottlieb said, “We have been tracking PETA for more than a decade. Ron Arnold and I co-authored a profile of PETA in the 1993 book, “Trashing the Economy.” What we found was one criminal act after another, all linked in some way to the name of PETA. The IRS has been slack in its oversight of this dangerous group. So we have had to issue a formal complaint to IRS Commissioner Rossotti himself. We hope the IRS will take PETA seriously now.”

A history of PETA during the 1980s and ‘90s can be found at

For the complete text of the complaint, go to