Election Recap: Bad Day for HSUS

121107_ExitPollHSUSThe Humane Society of the United States shows people images of dogs and cats, raising money on the implication that it will find homes for needy pets. Did you know that millions of dollars could be wasted on a lobbying agenda instead of helping care for those animals?

In Maine, HSUS and its lobbying arm spent well over $1 million pushing a measure to restrict  hunting. With 85% of precincts reporting, the measure is losing by 7 points. This measure not only was opposed by wildlife biologists, but close to 100% of the funding came from HSUS. The initiative was essentially HSUS trying to buy a law in Maine, and it didn’t work. Not only that, but HSUS ran a nearly identical initiative in 2004 and lost by a similar margin.

Other HSUS losses:

  • In Iowa, Joni Ernst, who grew up on a pork farm, won her U.S. Senate race. HSUS’s lobbying arm had donated $50,000 to her opponent.  Ernst’s election is another rebuke from Iowans to HSUS, which spent big bucks and failed in 2012 to knock off Iowa Rep. Steve King.
  • In Nebraska, Pete Ricketts won his race for governor. Ricketts, like the current governor, is no fan of HSUS.
  • In North Carolina, animal-rights veterinarian Ernie Ward lost his state senate race against incumbent (and also a veterinarian) Bill Rabon, who had drawn HSUS ire earlier this year over a dog-breeding bill.

The only victory HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle had to claim was the defeat of two ballot measures in Michigan regarding wolf hunting. But our understanding is that those measures were moot, anyway. The Michigan legislature passed a law this year that would supersede the outcome of those two measures. HSUS plans to file a legal challenge against this law—and there’s no guarantee that a lawsuit will prevail (but it will cost even more donor money).

Wasting donor money is nothing new at HSUS, as CharityWatch has noted, and it won’t change as long as Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle is in charge. Wayne is probably still trying to figure out how to keep the shell game going where he tries to tell donors that he doesn’t have to pay most of the $15 million he got tagged for earlier this year to settle a racketeering lawsuit despite the fact he already paid the bill! Of course, he can always cash in some of that donor money he has socked away in the Cayman Islands for a rainy day when there isn’t enough cash flow to fund his pension plan. Discerning donors who care about getting a bang for their buck should find another group—particularly local shelters—to give their money to.