Two weeks ago, Left Foot Forward reported on the potential conflict of interest at climate sceptics’ favourite think tank, The Global Warming Policy Foundation. One of the ‘conflict of interest’ policies drafted at the GWPF and, presumably, signed by trustees and staff, guarantees several things to the Charity Commission.
The GWPF states that it will:
“Only accept donations from individuals and companies of good standing.”
“Any donation over £50,000 will need to be referred to the trustees for approval.”
Given that the GWPF has yet to have had a full tax year, their accounts are unavailable via the Charity Commission website.
Left Foot Forward can reveal that when the foundation was established towards the end of last year, it was done so with £50,000 in ‘seed funding’. When asked about this donation Lord Lawson told us it came from:
“A private individual, who wished to remain anonymous.”
Reiterating the pledge on their website, Lawson added that the GWPF does not accept donations from individuals with any significant interest in oil or energy. An air of secrecy remains, though, about the donation and the conflicts of interest statements. Do all the other trustees at the GWPF know about the donation? According to their own rules the donation would need to have been approved by them.
And why are the GWPF unwilling to show us the signed statements? Lord Lawson, when asked for copies of the statements, told Left Foot Forward:
“No GWPF trustee has any conflict of interests, and the charity commission has been given the appropriate signed assurances.”
When we requested the signed copies of the conflict of interest policy from the Charity Commission, however, we were told:
“We do not expect, as a matter of course, conflicts of interest statements from trustees to be forwarded to us. Therefore we do not hold these statements.
“We would suggest that you might like to contact the charity in question to ask for this information.”
So who has the conflict of interests’ statements, why the secrecy and have all the GWPF trustees approved the mysterious £50,000 ‘seed funding’?