IRS Complaint Targets Backcountry Hunters & Anglers

Environmental Policy Alliance Accuses “Sportsmen” Group of Filing Incorrect Tax Returns.

Western Conservation Foundation 2011 IRS Return
Western Conservation Foundation 2011 IRS Return showing donation to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Environmental Policy Alliance
Environmental Policy Alliance

Washington, D.C. –-(  Today,, a project of the Environmental Policy Alliance, announced that it has filed a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service against Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) for filing incorrect tax returns.

While nonprofits are required to publicly report major donations on their tax returns, BHA has not been doing so, despite getting most of its revenue from a handful of radical environmental organizations.

In 2011 and 2012, 28 percent and 33 percent of the BHA’s total revenue came from the radical environmentalist-funded Western Conservation Foundation. However, BHA elected to omit Schedule B—the reporting of major donations—from its own tax returns for these years, in apparent violation of IRS rules.

Click here to view the complaint.

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers purports to be a voice for sportsmen, but its funding indicates it is simply a mouthpiece for left-wing environmentalists. All told, 60 percent of BHA’s revenue in 2012 came from three Big Green sources: Western Conservation Foundation, Wilburforce Foundation, and Hewlett Foundation—a fact BHA apparently doesn’t want the public to know. The Environmental Policy Alliance was able to construct this data by looking at the grantors’ individual tax returns.

“Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is hiding from the public how much money it gets from radical environmentalists,” commented Will Coggin, senior research analyst at the Environmental Policy Alliance. “The IRS should immediately demand that BHA file amended returns and hold BHA accountable for its years of incomplete tax returns.”

View the complaint here. According to the IRS, penalties for filing an incomplete tax return can be up to $10,000 for BHA for each return.

Along with receiving nearly $280,000 in 2011 and 2012 from the Western Conservation Foundation—which also funds Natural Resources Defense Council and Earthjustice (the “law firm of the environment”)—BHA has received $165,000 from the Wilburforce Foundation in recent years, a Seattle group that also funds Greenpeace, the Sierra Club Foundation, and others. BHA also received $100,000 from the wealthy, radical, San Francisco-based Hewlett Foundation and nearly $60,000 from the environmentalist Pew Charitable Trusts for “policy” in 2012/13.

“Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is just one of several groups funded by Big Green that trips over itself to brag about its ‘sportsmen’ credentials while advocating left-wing interests,” said Coggin. “BHA is nothing more than a new shade of camo to hide an environmentalist agenda.”

BHA is one of several “sportsmen” groups that takes substantial money from Big Green. The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) gets 77% of its contributions from just 8 donors, much of it from San Francisco-area environmentalist foundations. Trout Unlimited, which helped form TRCP, has taken tens of millions of dollars from San Francisco-area foundations that want to shut down major energy sources in America. The Izaak Walton League of America, meanwhile, has taken millions from anti-energy activists, including the anti-gun, Chicago-based Joyce Foundation, on whose board President Barack Obama sat for 8 years.

To learn more about environmentalist front organizations and their wealthy funders, visit To schedule an interview, please contact Alex Fitzsimmons at (202) 420-7875 or [email protected]

The Environmental Policy Alliance, a project of the nonprofit Center for Organizational Research and Education, is devoted to uncovering the funding and hidden agendas behind environmental activist groups and exploring the intersection between activists and government agencies. CORE is supported by a wide variety of businesses and foundations, including those in the hospitality, agriculture, and energy industries.