In 2010, Michael Weinstein took a small hit to the salary he pays himself from “charitable donations” to his Military Religious Freedom Foundation. He appears to have made up for that in 2011, the most recent year for which his financial data has become available. (Weinstein, who keeps the books himself, didn’t report his 2011 finances until November 2012.)
In 2011, the MRFF increased its income by more than $150,000 (which included a $15,800 grant from the United Way of New Mexico, $110,000 in cash from the Rockefeller Family Fund, and $20,000 from the Aspen Community Foundation). Weinstein’s compensation increased by just under $35,000, or about a quarter of the new donations, to just over $250,000 after taxes. That brings Weinstein’s pay to just over 36% of everything donated to his “charity.” Despite forlorn (and misleading) cries by his “research director,” Chris Rodda, that Weinstein is living the life of a sacrificial pauper in service to the troops, he seems to be doing quite well — especially for someone who doesn’t really do much of anything, besides talk.
One other interesting note: Chris Rodda routinely says she is an employee of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation — yet Weinstein’s tax documents continue to list only a single paid employee (himself). Rodda has previously admitted she is the $25,000 research “expense” listed on the MRFF tax forms. Paying his “senior research director” less than a tenth of what he pays himself should give you an idea of how Weinstein treats other people — including the young enlisted troops he uses for his publicity efforts. (Conveniently, this appears to help him avoid paying payroll taxes on her “non-employee” salary, as well.)
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with getting paid for an honest day’s work. To take a large portion of “charitable donations” as one’s pay, however, while simultaneously implying “well-funded extremist religious organizations” have a financial advantage, is disingenuous at best.
In point of fact, Michael Weinstein pays himself more than what some of the leaders of what he calls his “well-funded” adversaries are paid. But don’t expect him to admit that, as playing David to an “extremist religious” Goliath is more pitiable — and profitable.
MRFF Compensation to Michael Weinstein: