Report: Mikey Weinstein “Cashing in” using Charity
The Military Times family of papers, which has generally been friendly to Michael “Mikey” Weinstein’s campaign against military religious freedom, published an “exclusive” essentially accusing Weinstein of handsomely profiting from the charitable donations he solicits for his MRFF.
Interestingly, the article makes the same points that have been made here for years. In fact, the headline uses the same language that this site used in 2009 (“cashing in”) — language over which Weinstein had threatened to sue because he considered such a characterization to be “defamation.”
The article also notes, as this site has in the past:
[Weinstein’s pay] is also exceptionally large compared with top salaries at most nonprofits, military-related and otherwise — especially those the size of MRFF…
Weinstein…quickly became one of the best-compensated nonprofit executives in the country — taking a percentage of his group’s receipts that is unheard of in the military community…
The Military Times spoke with Charity Navigator, the source for the same data used here to note Weinstein’s exorbitant pay. While Charity Navigator doesn’t rank the MRFF, they did find Weinstein’s pay to be “very high:”
“For a charity that size, I would definitely say the compensation is very high,” said Sandra Miniutti, vice president for marketing and chief financial officer of Charity Navigator.
Much of what is in the article has been written about here before, but the Military Times did reveal two new facts:
First, Weinstein — the sole paid employee of his own “charitable” MRFF — admits that he votes with his board on his own salary, which the article says may violate IRS rules.
Second, Weinstein routinely uses his “Nobel prize nominations” as a defense of his work, and did so again in the Times article. The paper confirmed what has long been suspected: The MRFF has been nominating itself for the Nobel peace prize:
After several inquiries from Air Force Times, Weinstein said MRFF was nominated by Bobby Muller…Muller is also a member of MRFF’s advisory board…
The MRFF has used the nomination as an attempt to add an air of legitimacy to Weinstein’s crusade — while the nomination came from its own staff, a detail Weinstein conveniently omitted.
As has been repeatedly said here in the past, if people want to donate to Weinstein, they are free to do so. But, as with every similar organization, it is worth knowing the character and quality of the group to whom you are contributing your money. Of Weinstein’s MRFF, the Charity Navigator rep observed that no one is really minding the store…except its sole self-paid employee, Mikey Weinstein:
“Nobody’s really keeping an eye on the organization, making sure it’s fiscally responsible and delivering on its intended mission,” Miniutti said. “It’s concerning to see such a small board with such a highly compensated individual…”
Given that Weinstein can’t be trusted to be forthright about something like a Nobel prize nomination, it is natural to question the salary he pays himself and the wisdom of making “charitable” donations to support that compensation.
If you want to support real military religious freedom, there are far better organizations who do a far better job of that mission — and do so with integrity.
Further data and a history on Mikey Weinstein’s pay from his MRFF can be read here.