Nice Work If You Can Get It

How's this for a plan:

  1. Send people letters and email, pleading for money to fight a terrible (yet non-existent) danger.
  2. Use that money to finance another round of dishonest pleas for money.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2, month after month, year after year, while taking a “management fee” for my efforts.

Nice, huh? Actually, I didn’t invent it. I’m trying to figure out if that’s what anti-gay activist Eugene Delgaudio is doing.

Eugene Delgaudio


Delgaudio is kind of a joke, known for extreme, over-the-top, even messianic fundraising appeals. On the other hand, he’s an actual elected official, and pulls in well over a million dollars a year in donations. He’s also in the news right now, because he rented the Weekly Standard‘s email list to send out an anti-gay fundraising request so appalling that the conservative magazine has actually issued a statement of regret.

For some reason, I’m on the mailing list for Delgaudio’s organization (“Public Advocate of the United States”). Last month he asked for money with a novel and ballsy approach. He was about to file his 990 with the IRS (a financial disclosure form) and he was short of his 2011 fundraising goal. This would devastate the nation:

If I fail to raise $46,359.17 by December 31st, I’ll be forced to broadcast our weakness and vulnerability to the Homosexual Lobby…

…if they see Public Advocate’s treasury depleted they will see an opening to ram through the Gay Bill of Special Rights, the Homosexual Classrooms Act and the repeal of DOMA…

No wonder they’ll be pouring over my finance report like demented hyenas cackling as they stalk their prey, ready to rip it to shreds…

Robert, that’s why your emergency gift of $50, $100 or $200 is so important.

Without it, the Homosexual Lobby will be able to show Public Advocate’s 990s to moderate politicians as proof there is no effective opposition to their agenda.

His chutzpah is breathtaking, as he pretends NOM, AFA, TVC, FRC and a host of anti-gay groups don’t exist. But that’s not even the ballsy part: Delgaudio is openly asking for money just for the sake of having money!

He’s not even saying what he plans to do with it. But that’s not important — all that matters is making sure everyone knows Eugene Delgaudio has your money. Literally, that’s his pitch.

Delgaudio’s been sending me junk for months, but it never occurred to me “pour over” his 990s until he brought them up. Then I figured, Why not? What does he do with all this cash? I’m no accountant, but I can read a 990. Let me walk you through what I found. And I’ll try not to cackle like a demented hyena stalking its prey.

In 2009 (the latest year on file), Delgaudo received $1,276,232 in donations (plus another hundred grand in investment income). Here are his expenses.

Various basic expenses
(Payroll, legal, accounting, etc)
$224,942

Management fee
163,944

Grants, travel conferences
16,579

Lobbying
0

Postage
390,855

Printing
392,961

Computer and list maintenance
65,875

Creative and Coordinating
129,658

Other (mystery)
71,697

Total
$1,456,511

So it costs him almost a quarter of a million a year just to maintain his basic operation. That’s actually not too bad. You might be wondering how much of that sum is Delgaudio’s salary. Well, none. Zip, zilch, nada. The records are clear. He doesn’t draw a salary. What selfless devotion to the cause!

Except for…well, except for the management fee paid to Eugene Delgaudio & Associates, Inc., a management consulting company wholly owned by, of course, Eugene Delgaudio. It’s $163,944, plus another $7662 buried in other expenses, for a grand total of $171,606.

$171,606. That’s what Delgaudio pays himself every year.

Next, we see a tiny bit of money for grants and travel conferences. Sure, why not. Actually, I’m surprised it’s not higher, given his superhuman activist persona. In fact, there’s a deeper mystery: his listed lobbying expenses are zero. Again, I have to ask — what is he doing with his donations?

The next three items (postage, printing, and computer and list maintenance) add up to $849,691. And you know what I call those expenses? Fundraising.

Delgaudio would disagree. He’d say he’s sending letters and emails asking for money so he can fight the homosexual agenda by…sending out letters and emails asking for money.