Friday, November 21, 2008

HRC's Solmonese Gave Nothing
to No on 8 Campaign

I decided today was the day to check on donations to the No on 8 campaign from the top executives at the gay division of the Democratic Party, alias the Human Rights Campaign, along with any giving from the HRC staffers whose name appears on the group's web site. The salaries in parentheses, come from the latest HRC tax filings with the IRS.

Sorry to say, but I'm not the least bit surprised the head of this ineffective organization, Joe Solmonese, who really should be called Joe So-So because of his incredibly mediocre leadership, appears to have not made a donation to the No on 8 campaign.

I searched the Prop 8 donations' database at the SF Chronicle, and couldn't find a contribution from the executive director of HRC. However, Solmonese did donate a couple thousand bucks to Democratic Party candidates and political action committees this past election cycle. Maybe he had only a certain amount of personal bucks to give away and choose to put his money where his political heart really is -- promoting Democrats over gay causes.

Total amount given by individual HRC leaders, included in my survey, to the No on 8 campaign comes to $2,275. Click here to verify the donations, or lack thereof.

BTW, Solmonese once headed EMILY's List, which stands for early money is like yeast, a PAC committed to electing pro-choice women. This organization really understands the value of giving early to candidates and their campaigns, a lesson lost on Solmonese, who could have set a good example for donating to No on Prop 8, if he made a donation in the first months of the election season.

Furthermore, Solmonese's boss at EMILY's List, open lesbian Ellen Malcolm, also failed to give money to the No on 8 effort.

With friends and leaders like Solmonese, his staff and Ellen Malcolm, why worry about Mormons and other adversaries?

Here's my survey of HRC leaders and what turned up when searching the SF Chronicle Prop 8 donations' database:


* Joe Solmonese: $0 (Salary: $259,096)
* Susanne Salkind: $0 (Salary: $158,721
* Cathy Nelson: $0 (Salary: $167,891)
* Maxim Thorne: $0 (Salary: $155,939)
* Kevin Layton: $0 (Salary: $133,134)
* Andrea Green: $0 (Salary: $124,795)
* Mary Breslaur: $0 (Salary: $110,000)

Center for the Study of Equality

* Ché Juan Gonzales Tabisola: $0


* Michael Cole: $100
* Christopher Johnson: $0
* Brad Luna: $0
* Trevor Thomas: $0


* Donna Payne: $0
* Allyson Robinson: $0
* Cuc Vu: $0


* Chris Edelson: $0
* Marty Rouse: $200
* Sultan Shakir: $200

General Counsel

* Robert Falk: $200
* Darrin Hurwitz: $250

Human Resources

* John A. Greene, P.H.R.: $0


* Cristina Finch: $0
* Brian Moulton: $100
* Lara Schwartz: $0


* Allison Herwitt: $0
* David Stacy: $0

Policy & Strategy

* David M. Smith: $1,000 (Salary: $165,413)
[This is the largest donation in this survey, but compare that one-thousand dollar gift to the $2,300 Smith gave to Hillary Rodham Clinton presidential effort.]

Political Action Committee

* Mike Mings: $0

Public Education and Outreach

* Eric Bloem: $0
* Candace Gingrich: $0
* Sharon Groves: $0
* Daryl Herrschaft: $0
* Ellen Kahn: $0
* Harry Knox: $0
* Samir Luther: $125
* Betsy Pursell: $100


Anonymous said...

All of us in the community are upset about the passage of Prop 8, but this finger pointing is particularly disingenuous. You have listed some of the people who - instead of perhaps paying others to do the dirty work - were themselves working tirelessly in the field for months, striving to achieve the goal we were all hoping for. In your 'exacting' research, you also did not take into consideration the possibility that any of these individuals gave money in their partners' names - although I understand how it could be challenging for you to take that extra step to look into the joint finances of those whose relationships we are continuing to fight to for. I don't know how much money you donated with the click of a finger, but it cannot compare to the passion and commitment embodied by those who were not too lazy to take action on the ground and lay the foundation that will lead us to our next victory.

Anonymous said...

Oh, puleeze "anonymous," give us a break. Stop defending the indefensible.

HRC and other established national organizations have long pimped the equal marriage issue for contributions, but the best they could muster against Prop 8 was the same pathetic, corporate campaign which has lost two dozen amendment campaigns before it. That these 6-figure pimps couldn't be bothered to give a lousy dollar of their "own" money againt 8 just underlines their cynicism.

Enough of the excuses. In the past few weeks we've gotten a glimpse of the kind of campaign that could have defeated 8. The same bottom-up, grassroots campaign that finally defeated Anita Bryant and the Briggs Amendment a generation before. That campaign, too, was preceeded by the disasterous top-down campaign to win (and defend) equal rights in Dade County, FL, which was also a complete disaster. Thank god thousands of LGBT people flooded into the streets against the wise counsel of the HRC-types of their day.

Charlotte said...

I think this was well researched and educational. People need to wake up and put their money where their mouth is. And if you don't, you have nobody to blame but yourself. And I confess to being at blame myself. Voting No on 8 and having 3 signs on my front lawn certainly didn't help, I should have done more.

Found your blog on Eye On Blogs on the CBS site. Good work.

Anonymous said...

The Human Rights Campaign PAC donated $415,794. I was among those who made contributions by way of this PAC, as well as direct donations to the No On 8 campaign. Did anyone contact HRC to ask if their officers may have donated through the HRC PAC, in which case their names would not have appeared individually in the online database of contributors to Prop 8?

Unknown said...

Hi Michael,
I just found your blog. Great job! I've added it to my RSS newsfeeds on
I would like to echo the same sentiments of Steve. Let's get HRC to release their PAC list of the donors to see if they gave through it.
HRC called me during Prop. 8 fund-raising and had a matching grant at the time so I threw them $50. If I can give $50 on my $50k salary, I am sure Joe and company could have easily give $100k each.