Columnist Dimitri Vassilaros received a news release about a grassroots "petition to stop climate alarmism" and attacking Al Gore's work. He checked it out and found that "for an organization that claims 'we are grassroots to the core,' Grassfire.org acts as if it is hiding a lot of Astroturf. The politically conservative nonprofit is happy to talk about its worthy online petition campaigns," but is "very tight-lipped about talking about itself. ... The Maxwell, Iowa, address for donations to the grassroots organization is clearly displayed on its Web site. But its 2006 IRS 990 form states its address is Bethesda, Md., near Washington, D.C." The SourceWatch article on Grassfire revealed its relationship to Craig Shirley and his "slick Washington-area PR firm, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs. ... When asked a few times about the organization's finances, [Grassfire's] Mr. De Jong first said he didn't know the size of the organization that he speaks for. He also said he 'could ask around' about that 990 form. When I offered to ask the bookkeeper for him, De Jong said, 'She will call, dude. Relax. I'll take care of it for you. I am a man of my word.' As of Thursday noon, no one had called this dude."
By John Stauber on May 09, 2008