Unpacking the HSUS Gravy Train (2015 Edition)
The so-called Humane Society of the United States gives only one percent of the money it raises to pet shelters, and doesn’t run any pet shelters of its own. Where do we get that data from? HSUS’s publicly available tax return, which it, like all charities, must file with the IRS. We have the latest copy of HSUS’s tax return (PDF), and the story doesn’t get any better for America’s needy pets.
Here are some takeaways:
- Back-of-the-napkin math shows once again that only about 1% of the money spent by HSUS went to pet shelters (and HSUS runs zero pet shelters internally).
- HSUS sent over $50 million to hedge funds in the Caribbean. This is on top of the $50 million HSUS sent to the Caribbean and Bermuda in 2012 and 2013. Once more, HSUS prioritizes tax shelters over pet shelters.
- HSUS spent $7.6 million on Quadriga Art, a discredited fundraiser linked to other apparent charity scams. In 2014, Quadriga reached a $25 million settlement with the New York attorney general to settle complaints that it was helping rip off donors to a veterans charity.
- HSUS CEO Wayne “1%” Pacelle had a compensation package totaling over $425,000. Not a bad gig if you can get it.
- HSUS had $46.3 million in fundraising-related costs—or 36% of HSUS’s budget. Throw in administrative expenses and close to 40% of HSUS’s budget is spent on overhead. This ought to fail HSUS with the BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance, but the BBB’s rating system has serious conflicts of interest.
- HSUS spent $4.1 million on lobbying. HSUS wants to change laws—a focus that has drawn questions from lawmakers to the IRS. These expenditures don’t even bear fruit, always—the $1.4 million that HSUS gave to a Maine ballot campaign last year to restrict bear hunting went to a losing cause. That money could’ve helped feed a lot of needy cats and dogs.
- HSUS put over $4 million into its pension plan—far more than it gave to pet shelters. This is as good a statistic as any for showing the real priorities of HSUS.
These practices don’t look like they’ll be changing anytime soon, at least while the leadership of HSUS stays on. For instance, plan on HSUS spending millions on a ballot measure in Massachusetts to ban most bacon and eggs from supermarkets. Is dictating what people can and can’t eat really the role of a “humane society”?
If you’re tired of the self-serving shenanigans of HSUS, we have a simple solution: Give local. Help us spread the word.