Anyone who's taken on corporate interests in an environmental battle knows that the corporate arsenal includes litigation, advertising, public relations, "non-profit" front groups, disinformation and lobbying, among other strategies. ExxonMobil combined tactics, with a front-group/lobbying one-two punch, in an effort to challenge Greenpeace's tax exempt status.
The Wall Street Journal reports that a non-profit "watchdog" group known as Public Interest Watch (PIW) successfully lobbied for an IRS tax audit of Greenpeace. PIW's tax filing from August 2003 to July 2004 states that $120k of $124k of income came from ExxonMobil and, according to Greenpeace, the IRS acknowledged that their investigation arose from PIW's complaint. Greenpeace was notified in March that it retained its tax exempt status, but the three month audit procedure surely cut into Greenpeace's other work.