University of Calgary Audit Exposes Friends of Science Wrongdoing

Tue, 2008-04-15 15:32Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

University of Calgary Audit Exposes Friends of Science Wrongdoing

A University of Calgary audit into its relationship with the climate lobby group, Friends of Science (FOS), reveals that in setting up two trust funds on behalf of FOS, U of C Professor Barry Cooper may have contravened Revenue Canada and Elections Canada laws - and, in diverting money to his wife and daughter, he most certainly broke rules at the University itself.

The audit was assessing allegations that:

1. Prof. Cooper helped secure Revenue tax receipts for FOS donors, even though FOS does not have charitable status;

2. Prof. Cooper channeled money through the university that was later used to fund what “may be considered third party advertising under the Elections Act” - an ad campaign that was never registered and would contravene Elections Canada laws;

3. Prof. Cooper vastly overstepped his authority in authorizing payments on behalf of FOS to public relations companies and political lobbyists - in one case dispersing more than $100,000 to the PR firm APCO Worldwide;

4. Prof. Cooper used U of C trust fund money to “employ” his wife and daughter, without appropriate permission and in contravention of university rules.

5. The activities funded through the trust accounts “were not legitimate scientific research and education and were funded by anonymous donors to promote special interests.”

The U of C Auditors glossed over the first two allegations, appropriately leaving any determination of wrongdoing to Revenue Canada and Elections Canada, which are currently reviewing the case. (Elections Canada initiated its investigation after DeSmogBlog manager Kevin Grandia filed a complaint, but the University itself referred its findings to both Revenue Canada and Elections Canada.)

On items #3 and #4, the audit revealed evidence that Prof. Cooper is most certainly guilty.

And on item #5, on the question of whether any part of Cooper's FOS activities could legitimately be categorized as “scientific research and education,” the auditors said: “the evidence is not conclusive.”

This investigation was triggered more than two years ago when a retired oil geologist named Albert Jacobs told the Globe and Mail that Cooper set up the U of C trust funds so that FOS could receive money from oil and gas firms but still claim that it was an independent organization. The anonymous donors would give money to the Calgary Foundation, which would then write a cheque to Cooper's “educational” trusts. And Cooper would pass the money along to the Friends of Science.

The U of C audit confirms that the Calgary Foundation gave Cooper's trust accounts two cheques of $100,000 each. The auditors also confirm that another $100,000 was donated by someone “known to the university” who had asked to remain anonymous. And all this money was given to the FOS.

Yet, the auditors say: “None of the grants funding to the (Cooper trust) Accounts were from anonymous donors.”

This, clearly, strains the definition of “anonymous.” If the donors could hide behind the Calgary Foundation - or even the university itself - their anonymity is intact, and the Friends of Science could continue to say that they had received no money from oil companies; most of their funding came from Barry Cooper's slush fund.

But while the auditors seemed to be covering the university's tracks wherever they could, they still recorded a good deal of damning evidence. For example (and as the DeSmogBlog has reported before), FOS boasted in its own newsletter that it was specifically targeting swing federal ridings with the advertising campaign that ran “coincidentally” in the middle of the last election. FOS further boasted in a post-election newsletter that their efforts had been successful.

On the question of whether FOS donors received tax donations inappropriately, the auditors included this quote, taken from the FOS website:

An attachment from the FOS website stating: “You can now make a tax deductible donation to the Friends of Science by using the newly established Trust Account with the University of Calgary.” No mention here, or anywhere, that donors might be wanting to support university research or impartial “education”.

Missing at this point is any mention of consequences. Although the auditors made many intelligent recommendations to prevent the recurrence of this sort of trouble, and although the university agreed pretty much throughout to follow through on that advice, at no point does anyone suggest that the university might call Cooper to account. In fact, Cooper's name is blanked out throughout the document - as is a fair amount of other (probably juicy) detail - under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

U of C “had sufficient concerns last year to sever any relationship with Friends of Science,” said Provost and Vice President Academic Alan Harrison. And for that - and for initiating and acting promptly on this audit - the university deserves credit.

It is also appropriate to stand down until Revenue Canada and Elections Canada finish their deliberations. At that point, however, the public interest should take precedence over Cooper's privacy protections. He has broken U of C rules. He has brought a significant amount of embarrassment on the institution. And there is little doubt that he conspired with the Friends of Science to hide the oily origin of their funding.

At some point, he should pay the price.


Previous Comments

Is this connected with Elections Canada collecting papers from Conservative Party headquarters in the “raid” today?

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/04/15/rcmp-tories.html

I think some on Calgary CBC radio were making the connection between the two stories, but I haven’t seen it posted on a website.

James Hansen recieves $250,000 in private funding to “Adjust” data and hype up the myth.
Al Gore makes multi millions on Carbon credit scams.
The UN promotes another Oil For food scam, in the form of biofuels. (in which many of them are heavely invested)

You guys are really desperate lately.
One wonders why.

Hmmmmmmmm. AGW not going the way it should perhaps?

Your statements, particularly the one about about Hansen, look libellous to me. What’s your source, lying troll?

After an exhaustive 2 second search…..
canadiancoalition.com/forum/messages/25455.shtml www.soros.org/resources/articles_publications/publications/annual_20070731/a_complete.pdf

Troll, you are one sick person (and I use the term loosely) who only reads rubbish that supports their distorted view of reality.

The $250,000 was an award for Excellence in Environmental Science. For you to say ‘to “Adjust” data and hype up the myth’, is an outright lie and should be actionable. Unfortunately, people like Dr. Hansen do not have the time to go after every little scum bag like you who libel them. You should be ashamed of what you are saying.

It is also fraudulent of you to say that he received money from the Soros Foundation for the same libelous statement. The OSI did conduct a study on his censorship by Government officials and he has said that he received pro-bono legal advice from GAP. That rubbish site you linked to is a guilty of libel as you.

You are one disgusting person. I don’t know why you are allowed to post such lies and distortion on this site.

Ian Forrester

It’s the Ian Forrester DISGUSTING! goldmine:
http://tinyurl.com/5gltxp

“… the disgusting tactics of Singer.”

“You are one ignorant and disgusting person.”

“You are a disgusting person …”

“… their every disgusting “paper”.”

“That is what makes you such a disgusting person.”

“You are just disgusting with your lies …”

“You are a completely disgusting person …”

“You are a disgusting person.”

“It’s disgusting …”

“You are a disgusting person who is …”

“If you get fed up being told what a disgusting person you are …”

“… your disgusting analogies …”

“… which makes your comments even more disgusting.”

“… see how disgusting a character he is.”

“That is what makes you such a disgusting person.”

“… see what a disgusting person you are?”

But look on the bright side, Troll, at least he didn’t call you ignorant. This time. http://tinyurl.com/5vpl86

You really must have an awful lot of time on your hands.

Fern Mackenzie

Should have it would also be right

If this article and statements are not true then what is the truth ? I am confused now. Is there any ged distance learning program in calgary ?

When are the inactivists going to get off their collective arses, and actually investigate and sue Al Gore like they kept saying they would?

John Coleman and Christopher Monckton have been threatening to take action against Al Gore since the beginning of last month. Whatever happened?

And when’s Monckton going to get around to suing Oreskes, Hansen, Mashey, Hoggan/Lefebvre, …?

(By the way, Monckton hasn’t threatened to sue me yet! I feel so left out… *sob*…)

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
http://frankbi.wordpress.com/ International Journal of Inactivism
“Al `Fat Al’ Gore [is fat]” – Harold Pierce

I don’t think you should blame the whole University of Calgary, which distanced itself from the FOS long ago and which called for the independent audit.

Really liked this university information.
Esatate Management