Charity Navigator Downgrades HSUS Score

Two months ago, in light of our official IRS complaint against the Humane Society of the United States for the group’s practice of inflating revenue on its tax return, the charity evaluator Charity Navigator downgraded its score of HSUS. Charity Navigator today released an updated rating for HSUS, and HSUS has its lowest score in years.

Charity Navigator revised its score by using data from HSUS’s 2012 tax return, and in doing so, dropped HSUS’s score by about 3 points on a 70-point, two-axis scale. Within the past 12 months HSUS has gone from a score of 62.86 (four stars) to 51.72 (three stars) and on the border of a middling two-star rating. That’s HSUS’s lowest score since April 2010, and its second lowest score over the past decade.

And the score should even be lower.

Strangely, Charity Navigator still does not factor in HSUS’s misleading practice of counting overhead costs as “program expenses.” Charity Navigator does factor this for groups like ASPCA, so its omission of HSUS, with no explanation given, is odd. (And, despite this disadvantage, ASPCA still manages a better score than HSUS.)

Even with Charity Navigator overlooking HSUS’s accounting games—a temporary matter, we hope—the Humane Society of the United States is headed in the wrong direction. And in 2013, the revenue of HSUS and its affiliates dropped by $10 million—something that will likely downgrade HSUS’s score next year, as well.

CharityWatch, a well-respected charity evaluator, last week released its Summer Rating Guide that once again gives HSUS a poor C-minus grade. Now Charity Navigator has docked HSUS again. It hasn’t been a good two weeks for HSUS CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle. But the more his group is exposed—and the more people give to local shelters than HSUS—then the better for the animals.