Donations to Mikey Weinstein Fall, but His Paycheck Rises

Michael “Mikey” Weinstein recently promised contributors to his “charity” their donations would “represent a…monetary impact” to his cause:

You can rest assured that your generous donation to MRFF would represent a dollar for dollar monetary impact on this Civil Rights/National Security issue that is second to none.

Believe it or not, the awkwardly named Military Religious Freedom Foundation, founded and run by Weinstein (also the sole employee), is a 501(c)3 charity. The advantage of such a designation to Weinstein is he can solicit donations with the same tax benefits to the donors as if they’d given to their local church. The disadvantage (to Weinstein) is he is required to publicize financial documents, which can be quite revealing.

Despite having issues in the past with the public seeing his records, Weinstein has continued to pay himself essentially the same amount each year.  Mikey Weinstein has grossed more than $1.4 million in direct personal compensation (from the donations to his charity) to date.

This year (2012 is the most recent Weinstein has released) was little different. Michael Weinstein’s “reportable compensation” for 2012 was $273,355, from total revenue of $584,351. (That includes a $130,000 in “grants” from the Rockefeller Family Fund, $24,500 from the Jewish Communal Fund, and $26,000 from the Aspen Community Foundation.)  (Weinstein gave himself a raise of $20,000, even though MRFF income fell more than $100,000.) That paycheck is at 46.8% of revenue — right at the same level Weinstein apparently thought was damaging to his reputation a few years ago. Even so, Weinstein recently begged for more money and told his donors

Every last penny donated to our organization has been used as a weapon to fight back against the encroaching “Christian Jihadists” who’ve infected our armed forces.

That statement is accurate if his donors consider Weinstein’s substantial paycheck — which constitutes almost half of “every last penny” — to be a part of that “weapon.”  Given the fact that “Christian Jihadists [in] our armed forces” have proven to be Weinstein’s jackalope, the wisdom of funding that “weapon” is debatable.

While Chris Rodda and his supporters will likely claim that Weinstein is a modern-day martyr, sacrificing his Lotus for a Tiburon and his personal financial well-being for the good of mankind, his IRS filings seem to indicate otherwise.  His pay is substantial, and his charity seems to cover many other expenses as well — some of which will be highlighted in the coming days.

Still, there are some “organizational” expenses that likely make life a bit easier for Weinstein personally.

For example, in addition to Weinstein’s pay, the MRFF recorded $8,600 in “office expenses” (not including nearly $10,000 just for their phone bill). That might sound reasonable (except for the phone bill) until you realize the MRFF “office” is in Weinstein’s house. (His business address is the local UPS store. Rates vary, but expensive UPS mailboxes go for about $200 a year.)

Nearly $14,000 was spent on “travel” — which included reimbursement for family members (or those not traveling on the MRFF mission).

While Rodda once begged for donations using Weinstein’s vulnerability as a call for pity, the MRFF paid for security this year to the tune of over $11,000. (If 2013 was any indication, part of that may have included the services of Big Tony or his friends.)

The MRFF also paid $3,300 in undefined “repairs” and nearly $5,000 for vague “subscriptions.”  Brazenly, Weinstein used nearly $23,000 of his tax-deductible donations to publish and promote his own book (which is now available on Amazon for $1.00).

Just a few of the various other expenses add to another $75,000 — give or take. In other words, Weinstein doesn’t need a substantial paycheck to ‘fund the fight’ — the MRFF seems to have an expense account for that (and just about everything else).  He needs that substantial paycheck because…well, because.  Given the substantial amount Weinstein paid himself and for toner for his printer, you’d think the list of “religious freedom” expenses would be high, too.  But you’d be forgiven if you couldn’t think of anything the MRFF paid for in 2012 that actually ‘protected religious freedom’ — because no one else can, either.

It is a fair question as to whether this discussion really matters.  There are two points.

First, in exchange for their tax-exempt status, the IRS requires 501(c)3s to publicize documents specifically so they will be open to public scrutiny, so potential donors can determine if a charity is financially worthy of their contribution.  Even without commentary, any donor can see the size of Weinstein’s paycheck and the long list of other “expenses” his charity pays.  They are free to support him or not at their discretion — informed or not.

Second, with regard to supporters and detractors of Weinstein’s attacks on religious liberty, it is granted this will do little other than strengthen confirmation bias on their parts.

However, there is (remarkably) still an uninformed segment of society that sees “religious liberty advocate” and “for the military” and believes Weinstein’s slogan is true — and that he is worthy of their support.  As has been shown here many times before, Weinstein’s mantras belie his actual actions and views on religious liberty.  Any reasonable amount of research will show Weinstein has almost exclusively attacked the remotest reference to Christianity in the US military.

Similarly, the narrative Weinstein paints of his own position — that he is a financial David to monolithic Christianity’s Goliath — is strained at best.  Weinstein is very well paid, by any standard, and his charity appears to have no major expenses other than its own self-sustainment (and his).  The facts are plain, and they are provided by Weinstein himself.

Donors to the MRFF are free to take tax deductions for subsidizing Weinstein’s lifestyle (it’s a great gig, if you can get it).  It is disingenuous, though, for Weinstein to present himself as some kind of financial underdog when his “charity’s” largest single cash outflow ends in his own wallet and appears to cover many expenses.

Combined with his extremist — and questionably stable — beliefs that “Jihadist” Christians in America want to instigate a second Holocaust, that should give some people pause to consider that “religious freedom” isn’t Weinstein’s primary motive — and whether he is really worthy of their “charitable” contribution.

MRFF Compensation to Mikey Weinstein:

2005: Formed
2006: $116,330
2007: $0
2008: $252,485
2009: $296,232
2010: $218,201
2011: $252,681
2012: $273,355
2013: Not yet reported.

Prior years discussions: 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008.



  • Priscilla Parker

    Now, now. His activism is vast and far reaching. For example, next week he’s making an appearance on The Young Turks (apparently because ‘it’s one of the most amazing things Cenk Uygur has EVER seen’) to talk about how over a month ago Bill O’Reilly ‘called service members cowards’ and something about a pen. That’s groundbreaking an important. How dare you ‘impune his courage’ by question his activism.

    • Shockingly, TYT reportedly has revenue of $3M a year and 4000 subscribers — for programming that doesn’t rise to the quality of a high school journalism class.