Monday, November 28, 2005

Job placement at $22,794.00 a pop

Mary Katherine Ham, writing in the Hugh Hewitt blog space, has given me ballast for today. She writes on a WPo story that uncovers the standard fare in liberal minded do-gooder activism that is actually a charade to hide the sponging of taxpayer OPM (other people’s money). I’d like to say it’s just a liberal problem; however, we have too many small-r republicans moving the same game. Does the Grassley supported Iowa Pork Forest come to mind?

The Washington Post has a good, investigative piece today on a contractor who fleeced the city of Washington, D.C. and its taxpayers out of millions of dollars for doing next to nothing. …

$3.1 million to place 136 youths in entry-level jobs. That's $22,794 to place each person. That's also just a few thousand less than an entry-level salary on the Hill. Using roughly a year's entry-level salary to place someone in an entry-level job doesn't seem like the wisest of investments to me.

But Victor Selman feels the city got its "money's worth." Yes, Mr. Selman, it's easy to say that when the money you're talking about isn't yours. …

… He was not beholden to any constituents, donors, or city officials-- he just buttered up the right folks, picked up a check, and got busy helping no one. And the District's government is so busy running a thousand similarly unhelpful programs that it can't even be bothered to do the one thing a government should do-- protect its citizens by being good stewards of their money.

As a conservative, I just believe there are better ways to help people than this. More and bigger government programs inevitably mean more money for leather chairs and custom artwork, not for the people who really need it. Sadly, those who profess to be most interested in helping people also seem to be the most willing to give government a free pass and a blank check when it shows no progress at all. ...

Nevertheless, her wry indignation at the fraud, waste and abject greed of these hucksters extolling the virtues of charity and goodwill is inspiring (particularly given my earlier post bleeding on about my bad hair day). It would be nice to believe that this sort of fraud only happens in dysfunctional DC, but that’s not the case. This sick greed disguised as charity happens right here in good old Iowa. And one place to start digging is into the public budgets of “nonprofits” working the Harkin and Grassley earmarks.

It should shame anyone to be involved in a charity/nonprofit that spends more than 60% of their budget on administrative costs. It seems odd that organizations of goodwill give “leaders” six figure salaries, spend thousands on donated advertising and sponsor high-end lobbying events, but charity to these folks is a business. Isn’t it?

Please, anyone, tell me I am wrong to be so profoundly offended by this sort of fraud, please, I dare you.


Comments:
Just a quibble - I agree with your main point - but the link you provided only shows the $6k spent on lobbying. Unless you have some other support, the six-figure salary and 50k in advertising are just assumptions you made.
 
Drew,

Having had personal experience on a board that thought nothing of giving an ED with less than nine months service a six figure (salary & benefits) income while giving roughly $20 grand to Flynn/Wright for their "donated" services, I don't think I am too far off the mark.

I could probably spend time digging around in the Easter Seals records, but really, a nonprofit that is comfortable spending over $6,000 on a lobby event probably doesn't short on salaries, benefits and hefty largesse for their friends. In another example, the Pork Forest folks have been all over the fact that David Oman draws a salary of $175,000 – all from federal pork.

And do you know what the median Iowa income is for 2004? $41,350

Non-profits in this state are way overdue for a little investigation, and, perhaps, a 60% rule on defining what's considered a "performing" non-profit. In other words, if you're a non-profit with a budget over $250,000 it's expected that at least 60% of that budget is spent on services or you are marked by the Sec State's office as under performing.

(Aside: 60% is on the low end for money to services in all of the philanthropic ethics literature.)
 
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