Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Hard Times

S. Fred Singer, the fellow for whom the S. Fred for Climatology Incoherence Award is named (the comments at the link are hilarious) has hit tough times and is appalling for help

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ SEPP needs your support! Donations are fully tax-deductible SEPP relies on private donations only, does no solicit support from industry or government SEPP does not employ fundraisers, mass mailings, or costly advertisements SEPP has a modest budget, no employees, pays no salaries, relies on volunteers SEPP scientists donate their time pro bono and assign book royalties and speaking fees to SEPP Please make checks to SEPP $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
One of the issues rich old bunnies have is they can't shelter income. In the US you can't contribute to retirement accounts after age 72, and in fact you have to pull money out. Eli has been quite the admirer of S. Fred Singer's solution to this problem.

Some have asked what SEPP is. The answer is a tax shelter. If you follow their tax statements (Form 990 for tax free organizations), and the Bunny has, what you see is donations of about $100K/year, outgoes of 30-50K per year, occasional income from activities like the NIPCC report (SEPP, or in other words S. Fred got 143K$ for that in case anyone wonders what the wages of obfustication are) and an increasing stock portfolio.

S. Fred has been socking the difference between income and expenses away in the SEPP stock account and profiting on stock sales without having to pay tax on the realized gain. SEPP, of course, is tax free. From 1998 to 2007, the value of the portfolio increased from 203K$ to 1,692K$.

The portfolio supports S. Fred's travel, an office and some other stuff, but the big question is what was the exit plan to pull the money out. A simple one would for SEPP to pay Singer or anyone he designates (or wants to see get the money) a salary when he needs the money, or find some way of covering expenses.

Yet, this may not arise. SEPP appears to have been Bushed in the meltdown and needs help. It will be amusing to see their 990 for 2008.

Feeling poor bucky? Make a comment.


John Mashey said...

Speaking of 990s, have you by any chance looked for the Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation lately?

Kristen has moved on to architecture, but KBSF is still accepting donations...

Mitchell said...

A little off-topic:

I have just announced my intention, here, of systematically going through Morano's Minority Report, and using it both as a survey of the types of AGW skeptic out there, and as a comprehensive source of their talking points and arguments. The Report is not systematic in either of those respects, it's just a list of names, but the data is in there.

I have noticed that the Report, in its current and previous iterations, has been the subject of some scrutiny here. So if anyone can point me to some of the better assessments of its content, or otherwise wants to pitch in, please let me know. My email address is at the link above.

Anonymous said...

Strip out the TV Gardeners and other irrelevants and you are left with a core of maybe 30-40 genuinely sceptical actual scientists, whether they qualify as 'prominent' is a judgement I leave to others, however Ray Pierrehumbert, who certainly qualifies as a climate scientist, crosses swords with Morano on a forum on the NY Times blog Dot Earth ...if you like a good fight, pour yourself a coffee and see comments 51, 72, 91, 96, 109, 144, 185, 199, 204 here


and the spat continued in comments 60, 81, 111, 113, 156, 174, 196, 197, 200, 219, 264, 304, 394, 450, 415, 434-5, 450, 453, 481, 485, 521, 550, 558, 564, 578, 581, 867


(see also 56 and 157 for off-topic but illuminating comment)

EliRabett said...

John, the short answer is that there isn't one. Eli checked. Whether they registered under another name, set it up as a trust account, did nothing, or whatever is an open question.

Kristan, of course, will specialize in green buildings. The Lord is snarky.

EliRabett said...

Mitchell, you can find some stuff and some links by searching under Morano at the top left of this page. More later.

Anonymous said...

"have you by any chance looked for the Kristen Byrnes Science Foundation lately?"

Wasn't high on my to-do list.

I really could not care less what some nitwit thinks and does.

EliRabett said...

Mitch, looks like Bob has the same idea with his 650 list (link from Deltoid)

also direct http://650list.blogspot.com

John Mashey said...

Anon: that was a question for Eli, not you, since he and I have discussed this before, as there have been idle thoughts of Fraud (18 U.S.C. 1341, 1343), and some of us occasionally get interested in such things.

Anonymous said...

The KB thing smelled like a fundraising scam from the outset, JM, although I suppose it's prefectly plausible that the money did indeed go into a scholarship fund. OTOH, AFAIK there's absolutely no proof of that. Regardless, some of the donors must be feeling a bit byrned by the flash-in-the-pan quality of it all.

Were the donations supposed to be tax-deductible? If so it shouldn't be that hard to locate the required paper trail. If not it sounds like good old-fashioned wire fraud if the funds aren't used for the purpose for which they were collected, but tracking down the requisite information sounds tough.

EliRabett said...

One could always make a small donation and see what came back. If nothing came back, one could ask for a letter for the tax guys. Given the letter there should be some info. Without the letter??

Anonymous said...

Looked at the page, it's clear that it's not tax-deductible, else (among other things) checks would not be made out to KB as an individual. Also, a quick google seems to indicate that there's no such animal as an "irrevocable college trust." There are irrevocable trusts, but the description doesn't seem to fit these circumstances very well.

Now, I suppose it's possible that some sort of trust account could be set up under such circumstances in order to avoid paying taxes on the donations (now or later). If one happened to be a professor at a major institution of higher learning, one could easily call up the financial aid office and find out whether such a thing is plausible.

As for the "Foundation" bit, that seems fishy on its face. Can one under Maine and/or federal law properly solicit funds for a foundation that isn't one?

John Mashey said...

Well, it would be interesting to see whether KB or someone else endorses a check. *Someone* cashes the checks.
[But unfortunately, due to events beyond my control, the scanned backside of a certain check turned out not to be available, so I don't know who signs them.]

Recall that some of the money can basically go to people "involved in climate studies". Suppose I had some money that I wished to go to such folks. This might be a good way to do so without giving it to them directly...

Also, Google: air katrina internet fraud

Eric Hacker said...

Perhaps Singer had all his investments with Madoff.

jules said...

According to co-author Hans Labohm, the authors worked pro-deo. And only after finishing the report, they wanted some money for presenting and distributing the report. That's when Heartland appeared and sponsored the whole thing.

whether Labohm's version of the facts is correct, of course is another thing.

At least we know now Heartland financially supported the nIPCC