There were some fireworks this morning at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing about the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2015, a bit of legislation that would help hunters. At the hearing, Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma used the opportunity to confront HSUS CEO Wayne “I love my pension plan” Pacelle, who was testifying against the legislation, about some matters involving Oklahoma’s investigation into HSUS’s fundraising. And Pacelle lied.
Inhofe zeroed in on the fact that HSUS raised $1.7 million in Oklahoma between 2011 and 2013 and yet only gave $110,000 back to Oklahoma groups (according to HSUS’s general counsel). In response to Inhofe’s inquiry about the nature of HSUS’s advertising—those ads full of poor dogs and cats—Pacelle retorted that “Those ads say that we’re not giving the money to animal shelters” and that there is “explicit language” to that effect. (Watch the full exchange below of Pacelle getting grilled. The key moment starts around 6:00.)
That’s a lie. Here’s why:
- HSUS ads do not contain such a disclaimer. Period. Case closed.
- Some—but only some—HSUS TV ads do contain a disclaimer that “Local humane societies are independent from HSUS.” That does not say that money given to HSUS will not go to such local groups. In fact, our polling of HSUS donors from 2013 found that 84% of donors think “HSUS misleads people into thinking that it supports local humane societies and pet shelters.”
- Some TV ads contain this disclaimer that HSUS is independent from local humane societies in tiny print for a few seconds. And we mean tiny. (A screenshot is below.) We doubt all those little old ladies who are writing checks to HSUS can read it. A very small portion of HSUS TV ads have a slightly larger disclaimer.
- Not a single piece of HSUS direct mail contains a disclaimer that HSUS is independent from local humane societies so far as we’ve ever seen. We’ve looked at dozens of pieces from the last few years.
- None of HSUS’s fundraising has a disclaimer that HSUS does not run a single pet shelter. When you call yourself a “humane society” and know that you are confused with pet shelters, that’s quite the sin of omission.
Our survey found that 87% of HSUS donors think HSUS should be required to disclose in ads that it only gives 1% of the money it raises to pet shelters; 88% of donors think HSUS should be required to disclose in advertising that it isn’t affiliated with local humane societies.
Guess what? HSUS doesn’t do the first one at all. And it only does the second one in some ads—probably solely out of “CYA” concerns. It’s a recent addition; our review of HSUS TV ads that ran between and Jan. 2009 and Sept. 2011 found a disclaimer in less than 1% of HSUS’s ad airings. So HSUS did as little as possible for as long as possible, and it’s continuing that trend.
Let’s not forget that HSUS is an organization that secretively paid a witness who lied under oath and then paid $6 million to settle the subsequent bribery and racketeering lawsuit it was slapped with. HSUS relies on deception to raise $100 million a year to attack farmers, hunters and others, because Americans don’t support HSUS’s vegan agenda. Pacelle himself admitted in a talk that “I think there is some confusion among the general public and I think there’s occasional confusion with, with donors.” He needs his donors to be in the dark or he’d probably lose tens of millions in revenue to local pet shelters.
Wayne Pacelle must think he’s slicker than everybody else. But today his pants were on fire in front of Congress.