June 28, 2013 by Rick Rottman
In 2011, the CBLDF spent more on fundraising than it spent defending the First Amendment
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.
Total Revenue (Part I, Line 12): $532,968
Total Expenses (Part I, Line 18): $544,720
Revenue Less Expenses (Part I, Line 19): -$11,752
In 2011, the CBLDF spent more money than they took in.
Salaries and Employee Benefits (Part I, Line 15): $150,451
Program Service Expenses (Part IX, Line 25B): $171,417
Management and General Expenses (Part IX, Line 25C): $124,453
Fundraising (Part IX, Line 25D): $248,850
What did the CBLDF spend its money on? In 2011, the CBLDF spent 31.47 percent of its budget on program expenses, the First Amendment defense of the comic book community, the purpose of the charity.
In 2011, the CBLDF spent more money on fundraising expenses than it did on program expenses, a lot more. For every dollar the CBLDF takes in, nearly 46 cents goes to fundraising. 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.