The Catholic Church's $400,000 Fax Machine

Posted December 20, 2010

Catholic League President William Donohue Receives $399,156 in Annual Compensation; Organization Holds $26 Million in Assets

Washington, DC – Controversial Catholic League president William Donohue – whose work has now gained the support of the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops – earned a salary of $342,500 in 2009, with an additional $56,656 in fringe benefits. According to annual IRS Form 990 filings, the organization spent more than $2.6 million in 2009, despite the fact that its program work constitutes little more than the issuing of inflammatory press releases.

The Catholic League masquerades as an official ministry of the Catholic Church while engaging in heavyhanded tactics that many Catholics find distasteful. Donohue recently threatened a media campaign against state governors who didn't display nativity scenes in state capitol buildings. Earlier this year, he defended culture warrior Glenn Beck's incendiary comments against the preaching of social justice in Christian churches.

Despite this, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, authored a blog post last week expressing support for Donohue and his organization. As of Monday afternoon, some 2,600 Catholic United members had sent emails asking Archbishop Dolan to retract his statement.

“Across the country, Catholic dioceses are closing parishes and everyday Catholics are struggling to make ends meet. Bill Donohue is clearly out of touch with this reality,” said Chris Korzen, executive director of Catholics United. “Now we know why Donohue is so intent on ignoring social justice, concern for the poor, and other actual teachings of Jesus Christ: focusing on these issues is not good for the bottom line.”

The IRS filings list other examples of lavish spending. The organization shells out $335,914 for its midtown Manhattan office space, and compensates vice president Bernadette Brady to the tune of $203,727. An additional $57,826 is spent on office equipment.

As organizations go, the Catholic League is a “non-profit” in name only. In 2009 it pocketed $943,516 in excess revenue, down from $1.35 million in 2008. As of the most recent filings, the Catholic League reported $26.2 million in net assets.

The Catholic League's recent 990 filings can be found at http://www2.guidestar.org/organizations/23-7279981/catholic-league-religious-civil-rights.aspx (registration is required).

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