19 Matches for 'HSUS 2015 tax return'

  • How Much Did HSUS Spend on its CEO’s Book Tour?

    The Humane Society of the United States is a wasteful charity, spending more than half of its donors’ money on fundraising-related expenses last year, according to its tax return. It also appears that HSUS spent a pretty penny on a months-long, multi-city book tour for its CEO—whose book doesn’t even appear to have sold well at all. Donor money even was spent flying his wife around.

    According to the 2016 HSUS tax return, the organization received royalties of $22,172 for Wayne Pacelle’s book. Pacelle was paid $22,172 in royalties as well, and got an advance of $46,750 in 2015. Based on how authors are paid royalties and advances—details here—and the cost of Pacelle’s book, we estimate that only about 26,000 copies were bought.

    Not exactly John Grisham. Keep in mind that HSUS has a mailing list of millions of people—and that’s the best he could do?

    And it looks even worse when you consider that, for that measly $22,000, HSUS paid for Pacelle to crisscross the county on a book tour.

    We were able to track down 18 states (plus DC) on Pacelle’s book tour, with a total of 35 days and 37 stops from coast to coast. Once you factor in flights (first class?), hotels, meals, and other expenses, it starts to add up.

    We may also add in travel expenses for Pacelle Wife #2, former al Jazeera reporter Lisa Fletcher. HSUS reports on its tax return that it paid $4,181 to cover her “travel expenses” for “media support.” And it’s possible that HSUS staffers (or even a bodyguard) traveled with Pacelle.

    Not long ago “60 Minutes” exposed a charity CEO for writing a book and having the charity pay for his book tour. Donors to HSUS expect their money will be used to help care for animals—not serve as a self-promotional vanity tour for its CEO—who already gets paid over $400,000 a year.

    Posted on 09/13/2017 at 12:16 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Executive StaffFundraising & Money


  • State Supreme Court: HSUS Offers Opinions, Not Facts

    The Missouri Supreme Court issued a long-awaited ruling last week in a lawsuit filed by a Missouri dog breeder against the Humane Society of the United States for defamation and invasion of privacy. The plaintiff, Mary Ann Smith, who is the mother of a U.S. Congressman, alleged HSUS defamed her by calling her kennel a “puppy mill” in a 2010 report. There was suspicion that HSUS targeted her because it had a political problem with her son, who served in the state legislature and tussled with HSUS before joining Congress.

    HSUS tried to have the case dismissed by arguing that “puppy mill” is an opinion, which is protected speech. A lower court agreed, a court of appeals reversed, and the state Supreme Court now has ruled that “puppy mill” was indeed a protected “opinion” and therefore couldn’t be defamatory. Had it considered “puppy mill” a fact, the phrase could have been defamatory.

    While it would have been nice to see HSUS taken to trial to defend its use of the slur—particularly since its M.O. often involves smearing and threatening people—on the bright side, we’d like to thank the court for clarifying that HSUS offers “opinions,” not facts.

    Coincidentally, we’re putting together an ad. The ad will of course contain facts, such as the fact that HSUS only gives 1% of its money to pet shelters, according to its tax return. But we could also use a few colorful “opinions” to spice it up. Perhaps we’ll call HSUS “puppy exploiters” for the way they raise money with sad dogs and then shortchange pet shelters. Or perhaps we’ll label them “women abusers” for how they rip off their (mostly female) donors?

    Leave a comment below with your best opinion and we might use it.

    Posted on 05/01/2017 at 9:49 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Courtroom DramaGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • Unpacking the HSUS Gravy Train (2017 Edition)

    When it comes to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), we have never had high hopes that it would live up to its heart-wrenching advertisements and actually help shelter animals. Historically, HSUS would rather spend money on lawyers and lobbyists. But after analyzing its financials from the most recent IRS Form 990 tax return, even we were stunned at the paltry 0.68% of the total budget that was spent on grants for pet care in 2015.

    More takeaways include:

    • HSUS has stashed away over $58 million in Caribbean hedge funds, showing how it prioritizes Caribbean tax shelters over American animal shelters.
    • Wayne Pacelle, CEO of HSUS, received a nearly $24,000 raise, increasing his compensation to $448,980, or about half of what HSUS spent on pet-care grants. No wonder he could buy a $1.1 million house in cash.
    • HSUS spent $5.8 million of donor money on hiring Quadriga Art—a fundraising group that was exposed in national media and paid over $20 million to the New York Attorney General to settle a deceptive-fundraising investigation the previous year.
    • HSUS spent over $40 million on fundraising costs, or over 29% of its total expenses. Including management and general expenses that total increases to 31%. That’s not an overhead percentage to write home about.
    • HSUS spent $4.1 million on lobbying, with $1.1 million going to Massachusetts Question 3, a referendum that dramatically increases the cost of pork and eggs by banning the sale of commonly produced eggs and pork products. This will ultimately hit the poorest residents of Massachusetts the hardest.
    • HSUS spent over $3 million on its pension plan—more than three times its grants for pet care.

    As “charities” go, HSUS is a bad investment. With so much money spent on superfluous legal and lobbying staff and fees, it’s no wonder that the organization’s impact on helping shelter pets is so limited. If you want to help pets, then please donate to a local shelter where your dollars will go the furthest, and spread the word about the deceitful advertising by HSUS.

    Posted on 04/12/2017 at 1:52 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Annual ReportsDocument AnalysisExecutive StaffFinancial DocumentsFundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • We’ve Filed a New IRS Complaint Against HSUS

    The Humane Society of the United States is breaking the rules, once again.

    Recently, we learned that HSUS had signed off on its 2015 tax return, which shows, among other things, that it put $58 million into the Caribbean hedge funds and other offshore accounts—bringing the total up to $150 million-plus since 2012—money that it could have used to help animals. Since HSUS is a 501(c)(3) organization, it is required to provide copies of certain tax documents to any member of the public who asks for them. So, we went over to HSUS’s offices and asked politely.

    HSUS refused to give us copies of the documents we asked for. IRS regulations are clear that HSUS must do so. So we’re asking the IRS to compel HSUS to turn ‘em over and fine the organization for violating regulations. Perhaps HSUS has something it’s hiding?

    We exposed HSUS for breaking IRS regulations a couple of years ago when we showed that HSUS was incorrectly reporting information on its tax return, which had the effect of inflating its revenue on the return and potentially inflating its charity rating, as well. HSUS ended up filing amended returns for several years and was left with (cage-free) egg on its face.

    And then there’s a complaint made by six Members of Congress with the Treasury Inspector General about HSUS’s activities. No word on that one—but considering disgraced IRS official Lois Lerner, head of oversight for tax-exempt organizations, was a member of HSUS, you can guess the likely outcome.

    There are a lot of bad charities out there. Let’s hope the IRS does its job with this one.

    Posted on 07/27/2016 at 1:58 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • North Carolina Bill Would Put Money in HSUS’s Pocket

    Update: Readers tell us that Rep. Bradford is now educated about HSUS, and will find a different organization to be a beneficiary.

    HSUS’s pals at PETA put out a few press releases every year calling for roadside memorials to animals killed in accidents. Now, a roadside memorial bill in North Carolina would result in cash to HSUS.

    Meet House Bill 1066. The bill has nothing to do with animals. Rather it would establish a program to develop roadside memorials for people killed in automobile accidents.

    Under the law, family members of the deceased would apply for a memorial. If accepted, the grieving family would pay five-hundred dollars for the memorial. No problem so far. But here’s the troubling part:

    “Any fees remaining after covering the costs specified in this section shall be transferred on a quarterly basis to The Humane Society of the United States to be used to cover costs associated with rescuing animals in North Carolina”.

    The bill states HSUS must use the money to “cover costs associated with rescuing animals in North Carolina.” HSUS only gives between $30,000 and $45,000 to pet shelters in North Carolina, according to its most recent tax return (2014). Yet HSUS holds over $250 million in total assets, and sent $55 million to Caribbean accounts that year. That’s to say nothing of the millions HSUS paid to settle a racketeering lawsuit.

    From HSUS’s (unscrupulous) perspective, it’s a perfect play: Indefinite, free fundraising from people who can’t choose to donate anywhere else, such as local shelters that actually help animals.

    There are plenty of other organizations that could use—and deserve—the money better than HSUS.

    We’re guessing that, like a lot of people, the bill’s sponsor, Rep. John Bradford III, thought HSUS was a legitimate organization. For those wishing to educate him about HSUS, his email is [email protected].

    Posted on 05/24/2016 at 9:37 am by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & MoneyGov't, Lobbying, Politics


  • HSUS Stiffs African Wildlife

    HSUS CEO Wayne “1%” Pacelle is taking a break from his book tour to go to New York City tonight for an Intelligence Squared debate. Tonight’s topic is “Hunters Conserve Wildlife,” and on the “for” side is a representative of Field & Stream and a representative of an anti-poaching group, while on the “against” side is Pacelle and the head of Born Free USA, an animal rights group. You may remember Born Free as one of the groups, along with HSUS, that paid $25 million to settle a bribery and fraud lawsuit a couple of years ago.

    It should be an easy win for the “for” side, if they argue well. It is undeniable that hunters conserve wildlife. Hunting fees in Africa fund anti-poaching efforts. The director of wildlife for the Tanzanian Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism wrote in the New York Times a few years ago that the “millions of dollars that hunters spend to go on safari here each year help finance the game reserves, wildlife management areas and conservation efforts in our rapidly growing country.” And in the US, along with state hunting license fees, the federal Pittman Robertson Act levies a tax on guns and ammo that funds wildlife conservation.

    Pacelle will likely argue that hunting is unethical or unseemly. One may not like hunting—and certainly it’s not everyone’s cup of tea—but that’s not the debate. The debate is whether hunters help conserve wildlife. They do.

    And what does HSUS do to conserve wildlife? Not much, according to its tax return.

    According to HSUS’s 2014 tax return (PDF), it only made $8,250 in grants to sub-Saharan Africa—money that went for trap/neuter and sterilization efforts. And Humane Society International only conducted $491,771 of program services in all of sub-Saharan Africa and made only $29,500 in grants that year.

    But HSUS did have money for other international activity. Tax records show it put $100 million into Caribbean hedge funds between 2012 and 2014. That could’ve gone toward anti-poaching or other wildlife conservation efforts—if Pacelle truly cared.

    Pacelle is probably hoping that the urban, millennial crowd will be a boon to his side, but we wouldn’t be so sure. Millennials are a skeptical bunch, and if they hear how little Pacelle’s group actually does for wildlife, the crowd may well turn against him.

    Posted on 05/04/2016 at 10:15 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Hunting & FishingWildlife


  • This #GivingTuesday, Support Your Local Pet Shelter, not HSUS

    After the national shopping days on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which many people use to buy Christmas gifts for others, comes Giving Tuesday, a relatively new day meant to encourage people to donate to charity. Last year the promotion raised $46 million for charity.

    Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous charities that look to take advantage of people, such as the recent case of a veterans charity where little of the money was going to veterans. One of the worst examples of ripping donors off, however, comes from the Humane Society of the United States.

    Despite its name, the Humane Society of the United States is not affiliated with local humane societies across the country. The Humane Society of the United States does not run a single pet shelter—anywhere—despite its ads being full of dogs and cats. Only 1% of the money raised by HSUS goes to local pet shelters.

    Where does the money go? A lot of it is blown on overhead costs—HSUS has consistently earned poor marks from the American Institute of Philanthropy, a charity evaluator. HSUS also earned a “Donor Advisory” from Charity Navigator for a year after it settled a bribery and racketeering lawsuit for nearly $6 million. HSUS put $50 million into Caribbean hedge funds last year—money that could’ve helped animals. The organization also paid its CEO, Wayne Pacelle, a whopping $425,000 compensation package last year, according to HSUS’s tax return.

    The Humane Society of the United States raises a lot of money from well-meaning and unsuspecting people by showing them pictures of pets. To help those animals, however, you’re better off giving to an animal shelter or rescue near you. Find one by entering your zip code here.

    Posted on 12/01/2015 at 11:31 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Fundraising & MoneyPets


  • 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.

    Posted on 11/19/2015 at 1:49 pm by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: Financial DocumentsFundraising & Money


  • HSUS Doesn’t Give “Squat” to Pet Shelters

    We’ve got a new billboard up in Times Square showing New Yorkers and visitors from all over the country exactly how the Humane Society of the United States treats local pet shelters. HSUS is not affiliated with local humane societies and gives only 1% of the money it raises to local shelters, according to its tax return, all while running ads full of dogs and cats that give off the impression HSUS is all about caring for pets.

    We’ve collected quotes of what local humane societies have to say about HSUS, and they aren’t happy about the situation. But often times, these local shelters are too busy spending resources caring for animals to have a broad, national message. So we’re happy to provide one that helps them: Give local. (Click the photos to enlarge.)



    Posted on 10/06/2015 at 9:15 am by Humane Watch Team.

    Topics: MediaPets


  • HSUS Continues to Waste Taxpayer Dollars in Oklahoma

    Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is fighting back against the Humane Society of the United States’ attempt to stonewall his investigation into the group’s deceptive fundraising practices. HSUS sued Pruitt instead of cooperating and providing documents he had requested under the Oklahoma Solicitation of Charitable Contributions Act. AG Pruitt’s response to the lawsuit said HSUS “cites little to no law’ to support its request for an injunction to stop Oklahoma’s investigation.”

    In its 22-page response to HSUS’s lawsuit, AG Pruitt’s office stated:

    Yet there are serious concerns that HSUS makes only paltry expenditures related to such shelters. Those concerns, along with the representations made, led the office to initiate an investigation of HSUS fund-raising practices and whether the expectations created by those practices have been met. Instead of cooperating with that investigation, the organization has decided to challenge a statutorily authorized civil investigative demand.

    Courthouse News Service says Pruitt’s office became concerned with HSUS’s fundraising after reviewing a mailer that “’created the expectation’ that the money would be spent supporting local animal shelters”. As we have documented, only about 1% of HSUS’s contributions support local pet shelters even though it takes in $130 million in annual revenue. HSUS’s tax return shows that it gave only $13,000 to help Oklahoma pet shelters care for animals in 2013 — this from a group that probably raises hundreds of thousands every year from Oklahomans, if not more than $1 million.

    One of Pruitt’s duties as attorney general is to protect consumers from fraudulent, unfair, or deceptive business practices. HSUS’s lawsuit against him is nothing more than an attempt to prevent him from carrying out this responsibility on behalf of Oklahomans.

    Posted on 02/23/2015 at 1:23 pm by HumaneWatch Team.

    Topics: Main