In response to criticism of his organization, Humane Society of the United States CEO Wayne “I don’t love animals” Pacelle has often pointed to his organization’s rating from Charity Navigator, a charity evaluator. HSUS had a four (out of four) star rating until earlier this year, when it dropped to three stars. Now, it’s a former rating.
As of last week Charity Navigator removed its rating of HSUS and replaced it with a “donor advisory.” The advisory notifies website visitors of the $15.75 million settlement of a racketeering and bribery lawsuit that HSUS was a part of last month. You can read more about that settlement here, but the lawsuit involved HSUS money allegedly paying a witness who lied to a federal court.
This is another major blow to HSUS. CharityWatch, a another charity evaluator, has given HSUS D and C-minus grades over the past several years for HSUS’s high spending on overhead. Charity Navigator is a weaker evaluator but has more reach than CharityWatch—and now Charity Navigator has come out against HSUS. It’d be nice if the BBB Wise Giving Alliance also joined the party, but given the Alliance’s fundamentally flawed accreditation system, we won’t hold our breath.
A common email signature among HSUS staff included a reference to the now-former Charity Navigator rating. It must have been an awkward moment sending the memo around.