People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) isn’t fooling anyone with its claim that the money it donated to the terrorist Earth Liberation Front in 2001 was earmarked “to send two people to Washington to testify at a congressional hearing.” This justification for PETA’s questionable and likely illegal use of its tax-exempt donations is the eighth explanation the group has offered.

On Feb. 22, 2002, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk told the Wall Street Journal that the money was for “a publication.” Four days later, ABC News reported that Newkirk told them she “did not remember the check to ELF.” In the following weeks, various PETA officers claimed that the donation was for “educational materials” (The Associated Press), “habitat protection” (KOMO-TV Seattle), a “program about vegetarianism” (Fox News Channel), and “legal expenses” (in a letter to a member of Congress).

PETA has apparently changed its mind yet again, as the Earth Liberation Front attracts greater scrutiny from law enforcement. But the point is really moot. The ELF is a terrorist group: it has no lawful, charitable purpose whatsoever. In fact, the FBI says that the ELF and its sister group, the Animal Liberation Front, comprise our most serious domestic terrorism threat.

Members of the media and the general public (to say nothing of the IRS and the FBI) ought to treat this matter much more seriously.