It’s hard for the Humane Society of the United States to save animals when it has parked $26 million offshore. That’s what readers of USA Today are learning with our full-page ad in the paper this morning.
The Humane Society of the United States scandalously only gives 1% of its budget to local pet shelters, and it doesn’t run any pet shelters of its own. But it has plenty of money to bury in the sand. Deep in HSUS’s latest tax return is the group’s admission that it made “investments” totaling $25.7 million in the “Central American and the Caribbean” region. There were no reported investments of any kind abroad in HSUS’s previous three years of tax returns.
Why is a group that pledges to rescue animals in need quietly burying $26 million in Caribbean accounts? And where exactly is this $26 million “invested”?
It turns out HSUS funneled mega-bucks to several funds located in the Cayman Islands. The secretive place where secretive people stuff their secretive money. Bond villain-type stuff. According to its 990-T and supplemental forms, HSUS made the following “investments”:
- $500,000 to Ascend Partners Fund I, L.P., a Cayman hedge fund
- $253,000 to BKM Holdings (Cayman) Ltd.
- $8 million to Fore Multi Strategy Offshore Fund, Ltd., in the Caymans
- $5 million to Hayman Capital Offshore Partners, L.P. in Bermuda
- $6.7 million invested in Fir Tree International Value Fund in the Caymans
Why would a U.S. charity be putting $26 million in the Caribbean? (And the figures above only add up to a little over $20 million—where’s the other $5 million?) HSUS is a non-profit. It’s not in the business of investing money in hedge funds to make a profit. It’s in the business—according to its ads—of saving animals now. Now means right away—not in 10 years when HSUS may have made a loss on its Caribbean investments. (HSUS reports losing $61,000 in 2012 on various partnerships in the 990-T.)
There’s a reason people write “H$U$.” It’s because money seems to come first for the cynics and the bean-counters running HSUS. And it’s one more reason to give to your local shelter directly, not to a questionable national organization that might stick your donations in the Caymans instead of helping the shelter pets it cynically uses in its ads.