Institute for Responsible Technology & YES! Books
The Institute for Responsible Technology (IFRT), also known as “A project of The Coordinating Council” in promotional materials and IRS tax filings, is a non-profit tax-exempt organization founded by Jeffrey Smith in 2003 and located at his home in Fairfield, Iowa. From 2003-2011 IFRT operated as a project of “The Coordinating Council” – a Seattle, Washington based 501c3 non-profit organization formed by alternative health industry lobbyists Craig Winters from which he operated his “Campaign to Label GE Foods.” Winters worked closely with such anti-biotech advocacy groups as the Center for Food Safety (Andrew Kimbrell*), Organic Consumers Association (Ronnie Cummins) and the Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy (Mark Ritchie) in promoting regulatory, legal and legislative barriers to agricultural biotechnology. Winters frequently acknowledged his Coordinating Council campaign goals were to ban all GMOs, and that labeling GE foods would “have nearly the same effect as a ban.” Winters became ill in 2008 and passed away in 2009 around which time Jeffrey Smith took over responsibility for the organization.
Based on tax returns filed by Jeffrey Smith on behalf of “The Coordinating Council,” the organization reported no income or expenditures from 2004-2007. The tax returns for the organization in subsequent years reveal the following:
- 2008 IRS form 990: “Implemented education and public awareness regarding public health issues in food production” – Jeffrey Smith, sole listed board member and sole employee, paid $24,000 from a total income of $261,316 and expenditures of $209,506 (Return filed September 15, 2011).
- 2009 IRS form 990: “Implemented education and public awareness regarding public health issues in food production” – Jeffrey Smith sole listed board member and sole employee paid $24,000 from a total income of $202,052 and expenditures of $216,154 (Returned filed September 15, 2011).
- 2010 IRS form 990: “Implemented education and public awareness regarding public health issues in food production” – Jeffrey Smith sole listed board member and sole employee paid $24,000 from a total income of $315,612 and expenditures of $254,509 (Returned dated September 12, 2011).
- 2011: No return yet on file.
In 2012, Jeffrey Smith filed new 501c3 paperwork to establish the Institute for Responsible Technology as a separate entity from “The Coordinating Council.” Since the IFRT project founding in 2003, Jeffrey Smith has been the only listed employee in tax filings and only references person in media reports associated with the organization.
Smith has similarly created a “publishing house” called Yes! Books. Also co-located at Smith’s home in Fairfield, Iowa with the IFRT and sharing the same phone number as IFRT and the Coordinating Council, Yes! Publishing’s only listed books are Jeffrey Smith’s Seeds of Deception and Genetic Roulette. There are no other formal business filings for Yes! Publishing with the Iowa Secretary of State and it appears this “publishing house” is another “project” operating and funded under “The Coordinating Council” for business and tax purposes.
Smith’s loosely organized “non-profit” and self-publishing house appear to all be sole proprietorship’s with Jeffrey Smith as the only listed board member and employee. However, Smith uses these organizations to assert his expertise in the area of genetic engineering claiming to be a “best selling” author for his publications. His books appear on no publishing industry recognized “best seller” lists and his “research” institute’s foundation appears to rest solely on Smith’s self-published books, pamphlets and DVDs. Smith appears to be the sole beneficiary of these books and pamphlet sales, combined with speaking fees and donations to his “non-profit” organization.
Some of the sources of IFRT’s annual budgets can gleaned from financial sponsors acknowledged on Jeffrey Smith’s website. They include a range of organic, natural products and alternative health providers that mirror reported contributors to GMO labeling ballot initiatives in California and other states. Among the largest donors are Organic Valley (George Simeon), Stonyfield Organic Yogurt (Gary Hirshfield), Natural News Insider (Mike Adams) and Mercola.com - alternative health and nutraceuticals (Joe Mercola).
* It is worth noting that Andrew Kimbrell, a well known anti-biotech activist and litigator, is also founding board member of the Alliance for Bio-Integrity in Fairfield, Iowa with Maharishi Institute executive vice president Steven M. Druker. The Alliance sued the U.S. FDA to block the development of GMOs and this 1999 anti-biotech litigation relied upon expert witness Jeffrey Smith’s employer John Fagan at the Genetic-ID GMO testing service. The Alliance for Bio-Integrity operated from 1996-2001 overlapping with Jeffry Smith’s tenure at Genetic-ID as director of business development and marketing. Kimbrell and Smith continue to work together on anti-biotechnology campaigns including the 2012 California Proposition 37 ballot initiative to label GE foods. A similar organization “Truth in Labeling” coalition was formed by Alliance for Bio-Integrity co-founder and Maharishi Institute teacher Anne Dietrich, also active in the anti-GMO labeling movement. All have file tax returns from Fairfield, IA sharing the same accountants who handle the books for the Maharishi Institute’s various ventures.
(Last updated November 2012)