Sunday night, when for the first time in several weeks, I finally had an evening free, I got around to sorting my notes. Like Tolkien, I find “not being able to use a pen or pencil as defeating as the loss of her beak would be to a chicken.” As a result, my apartment is cluttered with my scribblings, chicken scratchings as it were.
On a page of one of my ubiquitous pads, I had written this question: “What has HRC [the Human Rights Campaign] accomplished?”
It seems I’m not the only person asking that question. Yesterday, I received an e-mail from Michael Petrelis alerting me to his latest post where he considers the compensation of HRC leaders. Checking the 2007 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 990 forms for group, he finds that Executive Director Joe Solmonese has recently cracked the quarter-million mark and now takes home a salary of $259,096, causing Petrelis to observe:
I wouldn’t have any problems with these salary levels, or how $37 million is flushed down Democratic sewers, if there were dozens of legislative and federal programmatic accomplishments as a result of HRC’s bloated operations and chic staffers, and as we all know there aren’t. The best one can say about HRC’s agenda is that it is a successful producer of ritzy dinners and consumer goods stamped with their equal logo.
Sometimes I think we would we be so much better off if HRC spun itself out of the political business and became an event producer with a line of products marketed to the high income bracket gays and lesbians, and a genuine multipartisan gay advocacy created from scratch.
Petrelis’ research made my job a lot easier.
HRC has done a good job of putting on glitzy evidences and has demonstrated considerable fundraising prowess. Their “Gala Dinners” in various cities around the country have become big social events for local gay communities. When I asked a friend why he was attending HRC’s dinner in Los Angeles this past March, he commented he wanted to support the community and see the celebrities there.
When I pressed him on what he meant by supporting the community, he mentioned HRC’s work, but was unable to specify what exactly the group does. I wonder how many other people donate to HRC because that’s what, they believe, gay people with a community conscience are “supposed” to do.
That particular supporter couldn’t identify one HRC accomplishment.
Well, they do succeed in raising lots of money. And I’m told they have a really nifty headquarters in Washington, D.C. Oh, and they get lots of people (at least in my neck of the woods) to plaster that blue-and-yellow sticker with HRC’s equal sign logo onto the bumpers of their car.