Non-profit

Amazon Watch

Website:

amazonwatch.org

Location:

OAKLAND, CA

Tax ID:

95-4604782

Experian Number:

859325616

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $956,277
Expenses: $690,634
Assets: $652,797

Formation:

1996

Founder:

Atossa Soltani

Amazon Watch is a left-of-center environmentalist organization that focuses on preventing development and urbanization in the Amazon rainforest. The organization has in the past cooperated with disbarred attorney Steven Donzinger, who was involved in what a federal judge characterized as an “egregious fraud” against Chevron relating to an oil spill in Ecuador. [1]

Activities

Amazon Watch was created in 1996 with the stated purpose of protecting the Amazon rainforest and advancing the rights of the local indigenous peoples. [2]

Amazon Watch provides funding to individuals who live in indigenous communities to protest investments that would develop the natural resources of the Amazon or urbanize such areas. This funding incentivizes indigenous communities to oppose development efforts across the Amazon. [3]

On January 24, 2021, Amazon Watch announced that it successfully helped convince Credit Suisse, Dutch lender ING, and France’s BNP Paribas to cease their investments in oil production in Ecuador. [4]

Amazon Watch conducted a media campaign to push the Biden administration and firms such as JP Morgan Chase, BlackRock, and Citigroup to commit to limiting development in the Amazon rainforest. [5]

Donzinger Controversy

In 2014, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that a $9 billion[6] judgment against Chevron relating to an oil spill in Ecuador, was the product of fraud spearheaded by lawyer and activist Steven Donzinger and barred Donzinger from attempting to share in any proceeds from its enforcement. [7]

The ruling referred to Amazon Watch as a “central player in Donziger’s publicity campaign.” In assessing Amazon Watch’s complicity with Donzinger, the court found that “[a]lthough Amazon Watch’s public materials did not bear Donziger’s name, Donziger himself drafted many Amazon Watch materials.” For instance, the court found that Donziger wrote a letter in Amazon Watch’s name to the Securities and Exchange Commission, calling upon the SEC to investigate Chevron for alleged failure to inform shareholders regarding the scope of an oil spill in Ecuador. [8]

The court ultimately concluded that the Amazon Watch letter authored by Donziger grossly exaggerated the estimated financial liability that Chevron was facing, alleged to be $6 billion, despite Donziger being informed by his environmental consultant that the estimate was too high. [9]

Funding

In 2019 Amazon Watch received $1,804,960 in grants and contributions. [10]  The organization reported $1,807,867 in total revenue,[11] $1,783,957 in expenses,[12] and $294,813 in net assets after accounting for all liabilities. [13]

Leadership

Atossa Soltani is the founder and president of the board of Amazon Watch, where she served as executive director for eighteen years. [14] Prior to joining the organization, she worked at the Rainforest Action Network from 1991-1996. [15] She is a board member of the left-of-center Christensen Fund. [16]

References

  1. Fisher, Daniel. “Judge Calls Chevron Verdict Product Of ‘Egregious Fraud,’ Unenforceable.” Forbes. March 4, 2014. Accessed April 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2014/03/04/judge-finds-chevron-verdict-product-of-fraud-and-unenforceable/?sh=752bce6926a2 ^
  2. “About us.” Amazon Watch. Accessed May 11, 2021. Available at: https://amazonwatch.org/about ^
  3. “Amazon Defenders Fund” Amazon Watch. https://amazonwatch.org/get-involved/amazon-defenders-fund ^
  4. Neghaiwi, Brenna, et al. “European Lenders Exit Amazon Oil Trade After Scrutiny by Campaigners” Amazon Watch. https://amazonwatch.org/news/2021/0124-european-lenders-exit-amazon-oil-trade-after-scrutiny-by-campaigners ^
  5. Marshall-Hallmark, Pendel.  “Banks are Budging!” Amazon Watch. https://amazonwatch.org/news/2021/0125-banks-are-budging ^
  6. Fisher, Daniel. “Judge Calls Chevron Verdict Product Of ‘Egregious Fraud,’ Unenforceable.” Forbes. March 4, 2014. Accessed April 24, 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2014/03/04/judge-finds-chevron-verdict-product-of-fraud-and-unenforceable/?sh=752bce6926a2 ^
  7. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 974 F. Supp. 2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). ^
  8. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 974 F. Supp. 2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). ^
  9. Chevron Corp. v. Donziger, 974 F. Supp. 2d 362 (S.D.N.Y. 2014). ^
  10. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Amazon Watch. Part I, lines 8-10. 2019. ^
  11. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Amazon Watch. Part I, line 12. 2019. ^
  12. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Amazon Watch. Part I, line 18. 2019. ^
  13. Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990). Amazon Watch. Part I, line 22. 2019. ^
  14. “Staff and Board.” Amazon Watch. Accessed May 11, 2021. Available at: https://amazonwatch.org/about/staff-and-board ^
  15. “Atossa Soltani, 2013 Hillary Laureate.” Hillary Institute. Accessed May 11, 2021. Available at: https://www.hillaryinstitute.com/atossa-soltani ^
  16. “Atossa Soltani, 2013 Hillary Laureate.” Hillary Institute. Accessed May 11, 2021. Available at: https://www.hillaryinstitute.com/atossa-soltani ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Stop the Money Pipeline

Supported Movements

  1. Green New Deal (GND)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: June 1, 1999

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Jun Form 990 $956,277 $690,634 $652,797 $370,055 N $942,403 $0 $11 $84,813 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,290,156 $1,549,265 $249,760 $232,661 N $1,275,197 $0 $1,140 $239,273 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,560,992 $1,796,562 $449,736 $173,528 N $1,547,247 $11,350 $0 $170,890
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,711,071 $1,454,284 $568,472 $56,694 N $1,708,665 $2,406 $0 $156,434 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,486,276 $1,841,864 $276,838 $22,955 N $1,477,560 $8,716 $0 $118,785 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $2,112,772 $1,957,597 $680,194 $69,615 N $2,109,721 $0 $746 $82,244 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Amazon Watch

    2201 BROADWAY STE 508
    OAKLAND, CA 94612-3063