Is CORE fighting for the poor or Big Oil?

UPDATE: Heard through the grapevine that CORE will be on the Canadian CBC show, the Current tomorrow morning. We've contacted the producers and have offered to provide more information.

With major corporate donations in the past from big players like Monsanto and ExxonMobil, I apologize for being more than a little cynical about the Congress of Racial Equality's latest “Stop the War on the Poor” campaign.

To say that CORE has enjoyed a cozy relationship with big industry would be an understatement. In fact, the above photo is a picture of Monsanto's Chairman and CEO, Hugh Grant chairing CORE's celebratory reception in honor of Martin Luther King Jr in 2005.

The visit to CORE by Monsanto's President coincided with a conference organized by CORE decrying environmentalists and their opposition to the use of genetically modified crops in Africa. Just so happens that Monsanto is the largest producer and supplier of genetically-modified seed in the world.

You can check out the an archived version of CORE's website where they once proudly touted Monsanto as the corporate sponsor of their pro-GM food campaign. I saved a screen capture of the Monsanto/CORE site archive just in case it goes “missing.”

Then there's the $275,000 CORE has received from the largest oil company in the world, ExxonMobil, most of the money tagged for public policy work in the area of climate change. Roy Innis, the head of CORE, has a long and well-documented history of attacking the environmental movement over the issue of global warming.

For example, in March, 2008 Innis spoke at a press conference in New York claiming that:

We are slowly destroying the energy system we have, and we are promoting an expensive, environmentally harmful, illusory energy system that exists only in theory and environmental rhetoric. Worst of all, we are harming our poorest families; we are rolling back the civil rights we struggled so long and hard to achieve; and we are sending many minorities to the back of the energy and economic bus. This must not, and cannot continue.”

Again, pardon me for being a little cynical when an organization that took $250,000 from ExxonMobil comes out against investing in renewable energy.

But I'm not the only cynical one. There's a lot of us. For example, the original founder of CORE, James Farmer has accused Innis of:

“renting out CORE's historic reputation to corporations like Monsanto and ExxonMobil.”

Looks like they're right. Here's the full story on the Congress of Racial Equality that I have put together in a briefing document and entered into our climate denial industry database.

Next up on the research docket are the other two members of the “Stop the War on the Poor” campaign, the High Impact Leadership Coalition and the Americans for American Energy.

For more on the who's who of the climate denial industry, check out our comprehensive climate deniers research database.


I heard some of that program. The CORE guy sounded disingenuous to me. Somebody should ask him what research about the poor he has read and what he and his group have done to help the poor.

I heard about this program late last night, but was able to send them more information on CORE and their links to Monsanto and ExxonMobil.

They got it in time and were able to add some of our information into the show.

Host: “There is a website called who report that your group CORE has been funded in the past by a grant from ExxonMobil. Is there any truth to that?

Niger Innis, spokesperson for CORE: “Well let me respond to that in two ways. First of all, CORE has over a million contributors. That is small businesses, that is members, that is mom and pop shops, that is major corporations. I suspect there are members of the Sierra Club and Greenpeace that have funded CORE.”

Host: “But is that, ExxonMobil wants… [cut off]

Innis: Just to finish up Mike, ExxonMobil, yes indeed is one of our funders, as are millions, er, hundreds of thousands of other entities, individuals and corporations. Um, we’re a non-profit.”

Host: “On a larger issue, do you believe climate change is a threat to the earth?”

Innis: “I think, we’re not engaged in this to debate the issue of climate change. I’m not saying climate change doesn’t exist, I’m saying we should not over react to it and what I am saying we should do is balance whatever the environmental responsible and good stewards of the earth with very real economic concerns that poor people have. And that whatever changes we’re going to make, that these burdens should not borne out disproportionately by poor people.”