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.