Top officials with 14 anti-poverty nonprofits were paid as much as $869,900 as their organizations were enriched with $900 million of taxpayer money, The Daily Caller News Foundation’s (TheDCNF) Investigative Group has found.
The activist groups received as much as 85 percent of their revenue from federal, state and local governments and collectively spent millions on lobbying, TheDCNF’s analysis found. Also, half of the charities’ CEOs made political contributions – nearly all of which was to Democratic candidates.
The groups pursue various activist causes, but each participates in the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Approved Counseling Agencies program, which pays nonprofits across the country to help people “find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes,” according to HUD.
HUD awarded at least $42 million to 204 such groups in 2016, which was predicted to assist more than 1.4 million households, agency data shows.
The department even has a step-by-step guide that shows organizations how to become a nonprofit and ultimately a counseling agency. HUD considers the charities’ prior performance when vetting their applications for the grants, which includes the number of impacted clients, past budgets and how grant money was spent previously.
At least 14 recipients appear to be national-level activist groups and have raked in $916 million across government from 2013 through 2015, TheDCNF’s analysis found.
Those organizations paid their top leaders more than $341,00 on average in 2015, according to their IRS Form 990 tax forms, which is nearly 14 times the annual income for a four-person family at the federal government’s official poverty line. Meanwhile, almost half of the revenue the groups received came from the government on average between 2013 and 2015.
Six of the nonprofits spent a total of nearly $3.2 million on lobbying during those three years. Additionally, seven of the charities’ CEOs contributed nearly $44,000 to Democrats since 2008 and only contributed to one Republican candidate during the same time.
National Urban League President and CEO Marc Morial , a former New Orleans mayor, received a higher salary than any other official in the nonprofits, taking home nearly $870,000 – more than 35 times the poverty line for a four-person family – in 2015.
Morial’s “energetic and skilled leadership has expanded the league’s work around an empowerment agenda … with a renewed emphasis on closing the economic gaps between whites and blacks, as well as rich and poor Americans,” according to the Urban League’s website.
He also contributed the second most to political candidates – $10,400, all to Democrats since 2008, according to OpenSecrets.org.
The nonprofit’s information page adds: “The mission of the Urban League movement is to enable African-Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights.”