gay inc.

HRC Took Home $7.9 Million Less In 2010. Not That Joe Solmonese Got Paid Any Less

With the release of its 990 tax form — which all tax-exempt non-profits are required to release when anyone asks for them, even via email — the Human Rights Campaign might have avoided an official IRS complaint after repeatedly refusing to turn over the documents (just like the National Organization for Marriage is doing, which HRC is quote-unquote furious about). But it also means the “largest” Gay Inc. group is disclosing that its coffers are 17 percent poorer this year after a tough economy and growing resentment with HRC leadership have cut cash flow. Luckily, if you work at HRC you wouldn’t have noticed any budget problems in your paycheck.

Digging through the forms that he’s been urging HRC to release, Michael Petrelis finds in salary and benefits, programming head David Smith is taking home $245k, (now former?) development director Cathy Nelson took home $272k, and president Joe Solmonese is still earning a cool $304k (all pictured above, L-R). That’s roughly what they earned in the previous year, thanks to a two-year pay freeze mandated by the board of directors in 2008.

What did decline between 2009 and 2010? Overall revenue, that’s what. In 2009 HRC took in $45,792,310; in 2010 it was just $37,918,133, or about $7.9 million less. (HRC’s fiscal year runs April 1 – March 31.) Sort of makes you think that pay freeze wasn’t a way to keep salaries from increasing in hard times, but from decreasing. (Though it’s not like the board can strip away cash from Solmonese, who had his contract renewed for two years, and his fee locked in.)


But how does all this compare to other non-profits out there? Allow HRC to explain in its 2010 Annual Report:

Like many organizations, HRC reduced its budget in FY2010 in response to the recession. Unlike many organizations, HRC ended FY2010 in solid financial shape. With diligence, hard work and sacrifice, the revenue budget was met, expenses were controlled and spending was strategic. Expenses for management and administration were cut $1.19 million, or 21 percent, and fundraising expenses were cut $1.10 million, or 16 percent, from FY2009. Program spending represented 70 percent of every dollar spent, enabling us to fight for equality on many fronts, including: the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, groundbreaking work on marriage equality in the states, the successful “No Excuses” in-district lobbying program targeting all members of Congress.

Seventy cents of every dollar is going toward programming? That’s actually a (relatively) decent figure, until you realize said programming includes vanity projects (like this one) whose sole purpose is to distract The Gays from its ineffective lobbying.

And how much is HRC paying the guy who made it his job to attack gay military veterans? Because surely that’s a line item that can go.

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