HSUS Response to Attorney General Investigation: Misdirection

Under Investigation ImageHSUS CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle must be very worried about the investigation launched against his organization by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who last month issued subpoenas to HSUS in light of a major HSUS contractor, Quadriga Art, entering a $25 million settlement with the New York Attorney General. But he’s got a strange attitude for responding to the controversy, choosing to attack the motives of General Pruitt while playing the victim card on his blog.

This latest hubbub started when a website called TheAgitator.net—which is run by two guys and which no one has heard of—posted a three-part screed this week attacking Pruitt, attacking us, and then defending HSUS. Pacelle was quick to tout the ranting of this website on his blog. Essentially, Pacelle’s defense is, “We’re a target simply because we’re effective.” To which the logical response is: “So what?”

It isn’t relevant how “effective” HSUS is in regards to whether or not it is raising money by deceptive and misleading means. To argue otherwise would be like a bank robber saying “But I gave half to charity!”

For starters, HSUS isn’t effective by objective measures—and Pacelle’s self-selected spin doesn’t count as “objective.” The independent charity watchdog CharityWatch finds that HSUS spends up to 45% of its budget on overhead, earning a “C-minus” grade (only slightly better than the “D” grades it earned for years). Animal People–far from flacks for “Big Ag”–puts the number at 55%. Oh, and all those animals HSUS claims to provide “direct care” for? Half of those animals are street dogs, etc. in other countries. Given its name, is it too much to expect the Humane Society of the UNITED STATES do more for animals in the United States?

The real issue is whether HSUS is raising money under deceptive means. The evidence for this is extensive. Here’s the nuts and bolts:

And let’s review some highlights from 2014 for HSUS:

The facts are simple, but HSUS can’t argue these facts. The evidence is unimpeachable. So instead it has concocted a phony “victim” story whereby a big, bad politician is going after this poor, little group. It smacks of desperation. And the public will see right through it if Pruitt makes a fact-based case.

At the end of the day, Pacelle is hoping that he can make enough noise and get what he wants—for Oklahoma to drop its investigation and give HSUS a free pass. He reminds us of the six-year-old whining to his parents for candy. But if your best defense is two guys’ blog-rant, that speaks volumes.