Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is HSUS fulfilling its non-profit charter?

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is recognized as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization by the Internal Revenue Service. But, is the HSUS in compliance with requirements to maintain its 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt status? According to Cheryl McAuliffe, Georgia Director for the HSUS, activist and lobbying efforts form the bulk of her activities. According to IRS 501 (c) 3 regulations:

“In general, no organization may qualify for section 501(c)(3) status if a substantial part of its activities is attempting to influence legislation (commonly known as lobbying ). A 501(c)(3) organization may engage in some lobbying, but too much lobbying activity risks loss of tax-exempt status. An organization will be regarded as attempting to influence legislation if it contacts, or urges the public to contact, members or employees of a legislative body for the purpose of proposing, supporting, or opposing legislation, or if the organization advocates the adoption or rejection of legislation.”

The Humane Society of the Unites States dedicates a vast amount of resources toward introducing and influencing legislation. You only need to look at its website tracking to see HSUS legislative efforts at the state and federal levels as well as through ballot initiatives.

Only 4% percentage of donations made to the Humane Society of the United States are granted to local shelters and Humane Societies. In 2007, less than 6 million dollars were handed out as US grants out of the 152 million taken in. In addition, large percentage of the grants were handed out to organizations that did not provide direct care to animals in need.

So, if the HSUS is not fulfilling its 501(c)3 non-profit charter, then all of its income should be taxable. And, the US and state governments are losing out on millions of dollars of badly needed revenue.

We urge our readers to take the following actions:

1. Cease donating any money to HSUS. Instead, send your donations to your local animal shelter.

2. Contact your state senators and representatives asking for an investigation into the HSUS policies and practices as they relate to their non-profit status. Let them know that there may be monies due the state if they are not following the non-profit guidelines.

3. Contact your local news organizations asking for a similar investigation.

4. And most importantly, contact the Internal Revenue Service at Internal Revenue Service
Criminal Investigations
Fresno, CA 93888