Alex Blaze

California Family Council's leader gets rich off his organization

Filed By Alex Blaze | September 11, 2008 3:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: California, California Family Council, family champion award, Family Research Council, Peter Henderson, Prop. 8, ron prentice, Values Voter Summit

Looks like some California homophobes have been caught with their hands in the piggy bank:

Since 2003, the public has given the Riverside, Calif.-based California Family Council (CFC) nearly $3 million to support charitable work that the organizations says "protects and fosters judeo-Christian principles in California's laws." But, according to its federal tax returns, little more than $500,000 of that money has gone to "program services," or expenses directly related to that charitable work.

In contrast, the CFC's top two employees, including its founder and executive director, Ron Prentice, were paid a total of $1.1 million over four years. The CFC's other employees earned a total of $900,000 in compensation -- bringing the total spent on employees at the Council to about $2 million since it began in 2003.

According to the Better Business Bureau, 65% of a nonprofit's money should be spent on program services. The California Family Council was spending about 70% of its money on employee salaries.

The CFC was headed by Ron Prentice (formerly of FOTF) and Peter Henderson. While the group says that it focuses on all the typical right-wing distractions (stem cell research, porn, abortion), it's pretty obsessed with marriage right now, in light of California's Proposition 8.

This group seems to just be a front for handing off money to a few people who wanted to make a quick buck. The two people who were paid the most at the CFC are its only two board members, a position usually given to volunteers.

I suppose this is good news for those fighting the amendment in California. The Religious Right has always been a front for getting more money into the hands of a few rich people, through advocating tax cuts and getting votes out for Republicans so that they can pillage the treasury, but here they're going about it pretty directly.

Indeed, Prentice is going to be honored with the Family Champion Award at the Family Research Council's Value Voters' Summit this year. These folks protect their own.

While I think I should feel sorry for the poor homophobes whose money was wasted on this organization, I just can't bring myself to it.


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I love the way the Family Research Council, its California namesake, and a number of other organizations employ the tern "Research" in describing their mission and efforts. For the most part it consists of determining which bit of right-wing dogma they want to emphasized today, and then employ their "scholary and peer reviewed experts" to point their microscopes to only pre-determined directions, with the uniform resut being, voila.....firm scientific reinforcement of their initial premise. They could have generally just published their dogma directly, saving money for the "research" machinations, and had even a greater percentage with which to line the pockets of their executives, all paid for with taxpayer dollars because of their 501(c)(3)tax exemption.

Thanks for finding that mistake, Don. It was the California Family Council, and I changed it.

And I don't think that the Family Research Council does any original research. I think they just reinterpret research that others have done.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | September 12, 2008 6:02 PM

Alex, great post! (As usual!!!)

So much of the Right's strategy is and always has been about making themselves rich. So as important as it is to get this latest revelation out there, Bil's right: no one should be surprised.