Only 3.2% of HRC's '09 Budget
Was for Congressional Lobbying
Once upon a time, the Human Rights Campaign's main mission was to persuade Congress to change federal statutes and regulations to benefit gay people. Nowadays, their mission involves throwing everything at the wall - attacking Target, exposing the finances of the National Organization for Marriage, boycotting ExxonMobil, demanding Arkansas school officials be fired over nasty web messages, hawking anti-bullying bracelets, etc - and seeing what sticks.
Curiosity led me to the Open Secrets site to see how much money HRC has spent in recent years on their lobbying efforts to affect change through Congress. Here's what I discovered.
In 2009, the year many of us hoped for, when a Democratic president was in the White House, and his party controlling both the House and Senate chambers, America's richest and largest professional gay advocacy org spent a puny $1.5 million on lobbying.
That figure represents only 3.2% of their $45.7 million budget last year. IMHO, a lot more money should have been spent by HRC to push our gay agenda forward since many political stars were aligned in our community's favor for the first time in years in DC.
To their small credit, HRC's lobbying amount and the percentage of its much diminished 2010 budget increased. Out of their current budget of $37.9 million, Open Secrets records show preliminary lobbying spending so far for 2010 was just $1.7 million, or 4.6% of the HRC budget.
By the way, the lobbyists employed by HRC are Democratic-leaning outfits.
While many will say 2009 was a good year for the gays because Congress passed and the President signed the hate crimes act, it hasn't had much significant impact on our lives. Heck, even HRC's blog post on the one-year anniversary of the bill's enactment provides no proof it has greatly benefited the community:
[The act] gives the Department of Justice authority to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence where a victim is selected because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. In addition, it provides DOJ with the ability to aid state and local jurisdictions with investigations and prosecutions of bias-motivated crimes of violence.
Today, the Department of Justice and FBI are actively engaged in educating local law enforcement officers, investigating potential hate crimes against LGBT people, and are working towards prosecution for offenders. A drastically different tone has been set regarding what will, now, not be tolerated.
I believe if HRC had invested more of its budget toward lobbying Congress when Democrats were in charge, legislation that would either remove barriers or create federal protections in housing, finance, education, employment and public accommodations could have passed into law.
At the same time, HRC could have spent some bucks on hiring GOP lobbying outfits, not just in the past two years to potentially line up Republican support if there were to be a vote on ENDA, for example, but also lay the ground work for good relations with the opposition party, if, they were to take control of the House as happened with last week's election.