Mikey Weinstein’s Charitable Salary Total Reaches $1.95 Million
Michael “Mikey” Weinstein seems to be making a comfortable living doing little more than attacking Christians in the US military.
The most recent financial disclosures for his Military Religious Freedom Foundation (from 2014, released nearly two years later) reveal that he paid himself, as the sole employee of the “charity” he self-founded, $244,232 in compensation from the tax-deductible donations his organization received.
While it is a slight reduction from the $299,634 he paid himself in 2013, it still accounts for a sizeable 35% of all contributions to his MRFF.
Since he founded his laughably-categorized “non-profit” in late 2005, Mikey Weinstein has pocketed approximately $1.95 million. In other words, of every $1.00 donated to his “charity,” about $0.39 has gone straight to his wallet since he created his foundation. Not bad for “charity” work.
At various times, Weinstein’s acolytes have tried to characterize this exorbitant compensation — which even caught the attention of the national news media — as a way to “repay loans” (as described by Rick Baker) or “repayment” of his previous self-sacrifices (as described by Chris Rodda). Aside from those descriptions potentially running afoul of his statements to the IRS, the attempts to characterize his service as martyrdom (which he has also done himself) are belied by the implicit and explicit compensation Weinstein receives — from himself.
For example, in 2014 the MRFF paid not just Weinstein’s salary, but also a total of $23,000 in travel and meals — including reimbursable travel by family members. The MRFF also paid for
- more than $15,000 in insurance
- more than $10,000 in undefined “benefits”
- nearly $10,000 to publish Weinstein’s book
- more than $5,000 in “subscriptions”
- nearly $18,000 for “security”, and
- an amazing $8,600 for the telephone.
The MRFF even covered nearly $3,000 in “repairs” — for a charity with no apparent physical assets that operates out of Weinstein’s house.
It’s unknown precisely how much of this expense coverage goes only to Weinstein — perhaps he covers Chris Rodda’s phone as well, and half the town’s phone bills, at that astounding expense rate. Still, with his “charity” covering such a wide array of expenses, it’s a wonder Weinstein has to pay for anything at all.
This is especially notable when an MRFF insider once revealed they only take cases if they can find lawyers to work them for free.
There also remains the undefined “consulting” expense cited by the MRFF, which in 2014 rose again to more than $110,000.
As noted previously, despite claiming he works 105 hours a week, Weinstein and his wife, Bonnie, manage to have a consulting firm called MIBON Consulting on the side that, with two reported employees, apparently makes around $100,000 a year. That said, Mikey Weinstein testified he had never been paid as a consultant for his own charity. Of course, he also claimed the “consulting” line item was for public relations and grant-writing, which, oddly, he itemized elsewhere.
While financial disclosures for charities are supposed to provide transparency, it is fairly difficult to see what Weinstein really spent money on. Besides paying himself and expenses, most other expenses are vague generalizations.
He paid $36,000 in “support” and another $34,000 in “program public announcements.” If Weinstein’s vague references and prior practices are any indication, these payments are likely ‘salaries’ for people — as his $32,000 “research” expense has previously been identified as a line item for Chris Rodda (who presumably did much of the MRFF’s work, at about 13% of Weinstein’s pay). Most of his other expenses that are distinguishable are related to public relations — which seems to be his primary “charitable” mission.
2014 was a notable year because, as previously noted, this was the first year in which the “scandal” of his outrageous self-payments caught broad attention. Ultimately, it did not appear to significantly affect his bottom line, as total contributions dipped only slightly in 2014 from the prior year.
It would seem Weinstein’s supporters don’t mind making tax-deductible donations to a charity whose single greatest expense is its founder’s paycheck. That’s particularly potent when one tries to figure out what the MRFF actually does.
So what did Mikey Weinstein do in 2014 to earn $244,232?
According to his own press release summarizing the highlights of his year, Weinstein made 7 phone calls or emails and was invited to provide testimony to Congress.
In other words, Weinstein’s donors are paying him nearly a quarter million dollars a year to talk. Despite his repeated claims and incessant threats, Weinstein hasn’t filed a lawsuit in years, nor has he done anything else of actual substance. Weinstein’s donors are essentially paying him to issue press releases.
That’s not a bad gig, if you can get it. And apparently if you can’t get it, you can start your own charity and give it to yourself.
And that’s an important point: For Mikey Weinstein, besides his personal bigotry against Christians, this is about money. While Weinstein frequently highlights his time in the Air Force, White House, and in Ross Perot’s employ, he rarely mentions the long string of jobs he had — with varying success — during the ensuing years. Those include being the fundraising and marketing VP at Electrosource (which ended less than a year later with a “substantial” severance), the collection agency Find Dads, Inc., and very short stints at Link 1, Perceptre, and New York Technology Partners, among others. With some of those jobs lasting less than a year, Weinstein seems to have been on a continual job hunt — a hunt which may have ended when he founded the very lucrative charity he now runs, notwithstanding his more recent “work” with MIBON Consulting and Alpha Security.
It also remains notable that a substantial portion of Weinstein’s donations don’t come from the oppressed masses for which he claims to fight. Rather, other charities support his in an indirect, semi-circular donation trail.
The Community Foundation of North Louisiana contributed more than $56,000 in 2014. The Jewish Communal Fund donated $10,000 in their FY that ended in June of 2014 — and notably nothing in 2015. The Aspen Community Foundation donated another $39,000. The Rockefeller Fund paid an astounding $170,000 in 2013, though their 2014 contributions are unknown.
By contrast, Weinstein received just over $11,000 from Military Support Groups of America — the federation through which the MRFF gains access to the CFC, which collects funds from individual federal employees.
In the end, it’s a free country. People or organizations can contribute to Mikey Weinstein no matter how he uses the money they give him — whether to pad his lifestyle (he gave up his Viper for a Lotus in 2006) or attack the religious liberties of troops in combat, just because he doesn’t like their faith.
Fortunately, despite Weinstein’s pontifications, military religious freedom generally marches on. Where he tries to restrict liberty, other legitimate religious liberty groups — whose employees make far less as a percentage of their group’s income — stand ready to defend and protect the human rights Mikey Weinstein would attack.
Still, who knew attacking Christians in the military was so profitable?
MRFF Compensation to Mikey Weinstein: