Taking a look at the 2011 IRS Form 990 for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the non-profit group dedicated to fighting for the First Amendment rights of all things related to comic books, it looks like they were still spending more money in 2011 than they took it. Organizations such as Guide Star make these forms available for free on their website, though you do need to first register before gaining access, but it’s free to do so.
Line 12 of the 2011 IRS Form 990 shows that the CBLDF made $532,968 in the year 2011. That’s considerably more than the $383,405 it took in 2010. Line 19 shows that they spent more money than they took in, $11,752 to be exact. This is becoming to be a pattern.
What did they spent money on? Line 15 shows they spent $150,451 in 2011, barely up from the year before. Line 25B shows they spent $171,417 on program service expenses, the expense of actually performing the intended purpose of the charity. In the case of the CBLDF, defending the First Amendment rights related to comic books. Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, believes non-profits that spend less than a third of their budget on program expenses aren’t living up to their mission. In 2011, the CBLDF spent 31.47 percent of its budget on program expenses.
In 2011, the CBLDF spent more money on fundraising expenses than it did on program expenses. This too is becoming a pattern. In 2011, line 25D shows the CBLDF spent $248,850 on fundraising. That works out to be 45.68 percent. Charity Navigator doesn’t have a hard number that they recommend this be, but they do point out the lower this percentage, the better. Compared to other non-profits, this number is extremely high.
Looking a part II of Schedule L, it looks like former deputy director Greg Thompson still owes the CBLDF money, $16,500 to be exact. Evidently this was some sort of advance that he failed to pay back. The form shows it’s in default, and that they have a written agreement with Thompson. One might think that an organization dedicated to fighting legal battles in a court of law would have the resources to make a former employee pay back money they’re owed, money generated by tax-exempt donations, especially if it’s backed up with a written agreement.
I guess not.