There are only two things certain in life, as the saying goes, and a byproduct of one of them requires nonprofit organizations to file paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). So now that the deceptively named "Humane Society" of the United States (HSUS) has submitted its "Form 990" for 2008, the Center for Consumer Freedom thought it was time to take a close look.
More detail equals a clearer picture of exactly what HSUS is doing -- and what it's not doing -- with all its money. HSUS reported spending almost $20 million on "campaigns, legislation and litigation" -- enough to worry any livestock farmer or hunter looking to keep their chosen lifestyle alive.
The group collected over $86 million in contributions, and spent more than $24 million on fundraising, including $4 million on professional fundraisers. That is to say that 28 cents of every dollar contributed to HSUS goes back out the door to raise more money.
HSUS even paid a single 'lockbox' company more than $4.2 million to count and process its cash hauls. The bottom line is the same as it ever was: HSUS rakes in millions from unsuspecting Americans who may confuse the animal rights group with an unaffiliated local humane society.
The real trouble lies in where most HSUS money doesn't go: to pet shelters. HSUS's total grant allocation was less than $4.7 million. And of that, almost half went to a political campaign committee called Californians for Humane Farms, the main lobbying organization responsible for California's Proposition 2 ballot initiative.
For all the cute pictures of puppies and kitties on HSUS paraphernalia, you'd think it would operate a pet shelter, or at least give a substantial portion of its money to one. But HSUS has lobbying to do, a PETA-inspired agenda to push, meat eaters to stigmatize and livestock farmers to put out to pasture. Lobbying? Oh, yes. HSUS takes four full pages to detail its lobbying activities on the state and federal levels.
With all the politicking going on, the animals seem to get lost in the shuffle. We added up the totals, and HSUS gave only a little more than $450,000-that's just one half of one percent of its total budget-in grants to organizations providing hands-on care to dogs and cats. That's less than 11 percent of what it paid just to count its money.
Reprinted in part from The Center for Consumer Freedom