In a nationally televised speech, filmmaker Michael Moore told a college audience he absolutely does not own any Halliburton stock – or any other stock for that matter – a charge leveled at him by author Peter Schweizer in the best-seller book “Do As I Say (Not As I Do).”
There’s just one problem with that denial, says Schweizer. He’s got the tax returns of Moore’s non-profit foundation to prove it – a non-profit foundation for which there are only two officers, Moore and his wife.
“I think people find that stuff funny – Michael Moore owns Halliburton stock,” said Moore in the Nov. 23 Mott College speech carried by C-SPAN. “That’s like a great comedy line. I know it’s not true. I’ve never owned a share of stock in my life — anything. Did anyone see that a couple weeks ago? Somebody was yakking away. And I just thought, uh, that’s funny, I guess. Anyone who knows me is not going to believe that. Who’s going to believe that? Just crazy people are going to believe it.”
It must be the definition of the word “own” that is the source of controversy, suggests Schweizer, the author of a book on liberal hypocrisy. Moore has emphatically made the claim repeatedly over the years: “I don’t own a single share of stock!”
He’s right. He doesn’t own a single share. He owns tens of thousands of shares – including nearly 2,000 shares of Boeing, nearly 1,000 of Sonoco, more than 4,000 of Best Foods, more than 3,000 of Eli Lilly, more than 8,000 of Bank One and more than 2,000 of Halliburton, the company most vilified by Moore in “Fahrenheit 9/11,” according to Schweizer’s book.
In fact, the Schedule D form declaring his capital gains and losses where his stock ownership is listed, it’s emblazoned on the cover of Schweizer’s book.
But Moore’s loophole may be that the stock is actually owned by his non-profit foundation – not him personally. However, Moore signed the return personally and controls the activity of the corporation.
It’s just one of the titillating, startling revelations by Schweizer, famous for his previous works, “Reagan’s War” and “The Bushes.”
- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who proclaims her support for unions, yet the luxury resort, the vineyard and the restaurants she partly owns are strictly non-union. While she advocates tough new laws enforcing environmental regulations on the private sector, the exclusive country club she partly owns failed to comply with existing environmental regulations for the past eight years – including a failure to protect endangered species.
- Noam Chomsky has made a reputation for calling America a police state and branding the Pentagon “the most hideous institution on earth,” yet his entire academic career, writes Schweizer, has been subsidized by the U.S. military.
- Barbra Streisand is another proponent of environmentalism, yet she drives an SUV, lives in a mansion and has a $22,000 annual water bill. In the past, she has driven to appointments in Beverly Hills in a motor home because of her aversion to using public bathrooms.
- Ralph Nader plays the role of the citizen avenger – the populist uninterested in wealth and materialism, pretending to live in a modest apartment. In fact, he lives in fancy homes registered in the names of his siblings.
This is not just a book of “gotcha” journalism, explains Schweizer. He says the dozens and dozens of examples of “liberal hypocrisy” he cites in his book “are of central importance in evaluating the validity and usefulness of liberal ideas.”
“Using IRS records, court depositions, news reports, financial disclosures and their own statements, I sought to answer a particular question: Do these liberal leaders and activists practice what they preach?” he writes. “What I found was a stunning record of open and shameless hypocrisy. Those who champion the cause of organized labor had developed various methods to avoid paying union wages or shunned unions altogether. Those who believe that the rich need to pay more in taxes proved especially adept at avoiding taxes themselves. Critics of capitalism and corporate enterprise frequently invested in the very companies they denounced. Those who espouse strict environmental regulations worked vigorously to sidestep them when it came to their own businesses and properties. Those who advocate steep inheritance taxes to promote fairer income distribution hid their investments in trusts or exotic overseas locales to reduce their own tax liability. Those who are strong proponents of affirmative action rarely practiced it themselves, and some had abysmal records when it came to hiring minorities. Those who proclaim themselves champions of civil liberties when it comes to criminal or terrorist cases went to extraordinary lengths to curtail the civil liberties of others when they felt threatened or just inconvenienced. Advocates of gun control had no problem making sure that an arsenal of weapons was available to protect them from dangerous criminals.”