Republicans Get Tough on Executive Compensation

For non-profits:

Another senator, Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, has told Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner that he is concerned that the Internal Revenue Service is not tough enough in policing pay in the nonprofit sector and that regulations governing compensation are too weak.

“I’ve asked him to review these regulations to see how they can be made effective,” Mr. Grassley said. “What’s there now doesn’t seem to be working.”

I’ve got nothing against a careful look into this issue, but some of the non-profits cited in that report are huge organizations. Perhaps they need to pay a bit more than you might expect because corporations have been inflating executive compensation by cherry-picking comparable peers.

34 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    I smell distraction. While I’m sure some nonprofits use up too much of their money in salaries, beating up on them might take the heat off the financial ijits.

    Last I looked, nonprofits still did some good; without melting down the economic structures of the planet, and all.

  2. 2
    Mike says:

    Certainly the abuse is confined to the philanthropic, civil rights, watchdog, etc. groups, so we’ll perform thorough audits of every one of those groups and not waste their time on the churches and think tanks.

  3. 3

    I say we do a careful audit of Senatorial compensation, and start with Charles Grassley.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Ok, they’re working hard on getting rid of all of those overpaid teachers, fire and police people.
    Now, non-profit exec’s.
    Next, on to the REALLY overpaid people – SOCIAL WORKER’S!!!

  5. 5

    What’s the difference between a non=profit that pays no taxes and a for-profit that receives some sort of tax subsidy?


  6. 6
    Jude says:

    Wait–shouldn’t the Invisible Hand of the Free Market be making these decisions, and not meddling government types?

  7. 7
    RSR says:

    This is a flanking maneuver in the privatize everything war.

  8. 8

    This is what Grassley does. If there’s money, he wants to know what’s happening to it. He did all through the Bush Co. years, also2.

    The real fun starts when the fReichtards hail this as the final assault in the war against ACORN Thugs and then realize non-prof doesn’t automatically = Lefty Liberal Organization.

  9. 9
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    … and then realize non-prof doesn’t automatically = Lefty Liberal Organization.

    Of course, it does. Real Murcans (TM) are profit driven; only Lefty Libs would willingly work for an organization that isn’t designed to make money.

  10. 10
    Napoleon says:

    Without taking the time to read this particular article I am going to defend Grassly because I have seen him raise the non-profit issue before and my distinct impression was not that Grassly has a problem with non-profits but with people scamming the government by incorporating a non-profit to do activities they would otherwise be running as for profit tax paying enterprises.

    This is consistent with Grassly in the past trying to reign in tax scams like donating a car to a charity and writing off its full retail price even thought he charity only gets a small percentage of that on it sale. Note that this effort of his almost certainly hit high tax bracket people way harder then lower bracket people.

  11. 11
    JGabriel says:

    kommrade reproductive vigor:

    The real fun starts when the fReichtards hail this as the final assault in the war against ACORN Thugs and then realize non-prof doesn’t automatically = Lefty Liberal Organization.

    Messages left for Chuck Grassley at his Senate Office, 7/27/2010

    From the Heritage Foundation:

    Back the fuck off, Chuckie!

    From Rich Lowry @ the National Review:

    You’re taking the sparkle out of my eye, Grassley!

    From the Weekly Standard:



  12. 12
    scav says:

    well, let Grassley play cash-cowboy here: At Military Contractor’s Trial, a $100,000 Buckle, he’s got his lawyers defending the hiring of prostitutes for employees and board members as a legitimate business expense for motivational purposes. This puppy’s Blagojevich caliber, and I didn’t expect to see that one matched so soon. He also apparently believes in retcon, for that edgy scifi spin.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    Will this proposed audit include members of the right-wing political/religious complex such as the Family Research Council? How about the Mormon church?

  14. 14
    Downpuppy says:

    Non-profit health insurers, hospitals, & universities are sucking up an ever greater amount. Tuition? Absurd.

    And a lot of it is through bloated staffing & overpaid Chancellors, Deans, executives, f’ball coaches…

    Nice to see Republicans doing something useful for a change, (until proven otherwise)

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: Grassley, to his credit, did make some moves over the tax-exempt status of certain large megachurch complexes a few years back. The fundies still have not completely forgiven him for this.

  16. 16
    Punchy says:

    Nothing says “Republican” like demanding the government meddle in the private sector’s affairs…..


  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    Most, maybe all, of the right wing think tanks are non-profits. We need to examine their internal records carefully.

  18. 18
    Dracula says:

    How about the Mormon church?

    You have an extra “m” in that there word there.

  19. 19
    beltane says:

    @El Cid: This could completely open the lid on the wingnut welfare establishment. It would be like peering into a termite colony or the Borg cube.

  20. 20
    JGabriel says:


    Grassley, to his credit, did make some moves over the tax-exempt status of certain large megachurch complexes a few years back. The fundies still have not completely forgiven him for this.

    Yes, while Grassley is as ideologically inconsistent as all conservatives, I’ll give him points for consistency on the issue of corruption.

    Grassley has gone after corruption among Republicans as well as Democrats pretty routinely. For instance, in addition to the above, Grassley also testified against Lurita Doan when Waxman was investigating her for Hatch Act violations a few years ago.


  21. 21

    @beltane: Right. He asks those questions that so-called fiscally conservative fRighties really don’t want anyone to ask. As Repugs. go, if the party had few more Grassleys I’d worry more. But they’ll probably try to kick him out soon.

    I know he regularly asks the GAO for reports and frankly, I’m kind of surprised BushCo. didn’t try to shut them down or relocate the agency to the center of a volcano.

  22. 22
    Jayackroyd says:

    And maybe we should get rid of the non profit exemption entirely!

    Huge deadweight loss involved. Much chicanery as well.

    Course, in my world there would be no taxes on anyone other than individuals anyway.

  23. 23
    scav says:

    @Jayackroyd: Luckily, corporations are treated as individuals in this fair nation, no? :)

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:


    To cite only one example that debunks your silliness, the Duke men’s basketball program funds the entire athletic department (approximately 15 percent of Duke undergrads participate in intercollegiate athletics), with millions of dollars left over every year for other University purposes. In addition, every study of alumni financial support that has ever been done has shown a strong and statistically significant correlation between athletic success and alumni financial support, at every level of college sports from the SEC and ACC to NESCAC.

    So tell us again why Coach K (who, FWIW, is paid more by Nike than by Duke) is overpaid.

    The highest-paid employee of Duke University is the CEO of Duke Health Services, which is comparable in size and scope to a Fortune 500 company. If you want to hire and retain talented people, you gotta pay them.

  25. 25
    Jayackroyd says:


    In the end people pay taxes. Attempting to make them pay taxes by taxing the organization they hold shares in will inevitably result in an incidence we were not planning for.

    Worse we have no real idea what the incidence of a tax on a corporation is. Even if we did not engage in complicated forms of “industrial planning” by taxing different businesses differently (that’s what depreciation schedules do, in effect) by doing something like taxing gross receipts, the elasticity of the product and factor markets (capital and labor) determine which people ultimately pay the tax.

    better to just tax people.

    Stir in nonprofits, especially multigenerational nonprofits like churches, and you have a real distorted mess on your hands.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:


    And that’s a strong and statistically significant POSITIVE correlation.

    FYWP and your teeny-weeny non-scrolling edit window.

  27. 27
    bemused says:

    I remember reading many years ago during Bush era about Brooks’ outrageous excesses funded by us for a product that probably killed and injured many soldiers and feeling sick. Good to know that he is finally in court.
    I haven’t noticed cable “news” picking up this story yet. It’s got all the sleaze factors that should grab their attention and there are a lot more similar military contractor stories they could jump on. It’s a shame that there is only so much time in a “news” cycle leftover after covering much more need to know stories about Lindsey Lohan, Black Panthers, the beleaguered wealthy desperately needing their tax cuts, racism against white people……

  28. 28
    Crusty Dem says:

    Anybody been watching Andrew Sullivan’s journolist jihad? Unfortunately for the J-listers, apparently a few of them made comments about Palin and Trig that mirrored Andrew’s, while others said either “What’s the point?” or that outing Sarah as the grandma (if she is) “doesn’t help Obama”, which sent Andrew full metal nutbag (“They agree with me but don’t have the courage to investigate!”). Proving, once again, that the most dangerous thing you can do is agree with anything out of the mouth of a conspiracy theorist..

  29. 29
    Downpuppy says:

    @burnspbesq: Is Coach K coachin’ f’ball now, too?

    College football is a massively destructive enterprise that exploits & damages boys, but not really my point. Which is that there are more more staff than faculty, faculty don’t spend much time teaching, and the excessive compensation of some people at the schools is a key part of the waste.

  30. 30
    Pangloss says:

    You’d think with all the wingnut welfare operations out there losing so much money, they’d be a little more sensitive about going after non-profits. Where oh where will Bill Bennett get his next blackjack stake?

  31. 31
    gwangung says:

    Which is that there are more more staff than faculty, faculty don’t spend much time teaching, and the excessive compensation of some people at the schools is a key part of the waste.

    This is trivially stupid and innumerate. Clearly no idea how organizations work.

  32. 32
    Slowbama says:

    Where I live most of the big nonprofits are run by Republicans and staff salaries as a percentage of overall budget are gi-normous. Some of the executive/artistic/managing directors, who usually double and sometimes triple dip, receive compensation easily equivalent to heads of local corporations.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    @Jayackroyd: well, when corps stop insisting on having the rights of individuals vis a vis free speech and political contributions and shit, I might feel more sympathy for that argument.

  34. 34
    maya says:

    So, is the Senate not-for-profit or the other?

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