[Congressional Record Volume 144, Number 55 (Wednesday, May 6, 1998)]
[Pages H2929-H2930]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  (Mr. COBURN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 
minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. COBURN. Mr. Speaker, with the availability of powerful new drug 
therapies, many with HIV infection now have hope. The cost of that hope 
is anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 a year. I believe it is 
unconscionable to deny drugs to this group of people who are living 
with HIV, and I commend this body for the money that we have raised and 
allocated for this purpose.
  However, I have been shocked to learn that many AIDS organizations 
pay their executives excessive salaries at the expense of those living 
with HIV. Medically necessary care is being severely curtailed while 
these executives line their pockets with Federal dollars.
  I would advise the Members of this body and the public in general to 
look at www.accountabilityproject.com. to look at how this money is 
spent. I welcome AIDS patients to discuss this with this body.
  Mr. Speaker, I submit for the Record the following article from the 
April 26 San Francisco Examiner about the accountability project.

           [From the San Francisco Examiner, April 26, 1998]

                      Tracking the Funds for AIDS

                          (By Erin McCormick)

       Michael Petrelis wants to know what happened to the $1.5 
     billion the United States spent on AIDS last year.
       The 39-year-old AIDS patient, and a growing number of 
     activists like him, have been willing to bang on locked 
     boardroom doors, rifle through file cabinets and generally 
     raise hell to make sure money raised for AIDS goes to fight 
     the deadly disease and not to overhead expenses and high 
     salaries for charity executives.
       Now they are taking their crusade public with an Internet 
     Web site that will allow donors and people with AIDS to 
     follow the money that goes to the dozens of charity relief 
     efforts around the country.
       ``There's a new phenomenon of people with AIDS living 
     longer, which means we're asking more questions about 
     services,'' Sid Petrelis, who said since he started prodding 
     organizations for financial information he has been banned 
     from receiving full services at three Bay Area AIDS 
       ``We're now questioning where the money goes from the AIDS 
     Walk, the AIDs Ride and the AIDS Dance-athon because we would 
     like to have services like hot meals and housing,'' he said.
       The Accountability Project Web site 
     (www.accountabilityproject.com), which reveals IRS tax 
     filings and other financial information about major U.S. AIDS 
     charities and other nonprofits, makes it possible for 
     internet surfers to get instant information about how they 
     spend their money.
       The project, an offshoot of the in-your-face AIDS activist 
     group, ACT UP Golden Gate, is also pushing for laws to 
     require open board meetings, democratic management and 
     greater financial scrutiny for the nation's rapidly growing 
     nonprofit sector.
       ``Nonprofits are a trillion-dollar industry in the U.S.,'' 
     said project member Jeff Getty, who has lobbied to get City 
     Hall to pass laws requiring more public accountability from 
     nonprofits that get city funds. ``Our country is creating a 
     [p.8] huge sector that's sometimes replacing government and 
     is spending government money, but has no elected officials 
     and no taxpayer accountability.''

                       tax returns in public eye

       So far, the Accountability Project Web site has published 
     the tax returns of 28 nonprofits from around the nation, 
     ranging from the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and New York's 
     Gay Men's Health Crisis to Walden House, a substance abuse 
     recovery program that devotes only a portion of its resources 
     to people with AIDS.
       And while, on the whole, the documents show a vast array of 
     lifesaving work being done on behalf of AIDs patients, 
     Petrelis says, they also raise questions about some 
     charities' priorities.
       For instance, the reports show that 21 executives who 
     worked at 10 of the charities, had pay packages exceeding 
       The highest salary and benefits package went to Walden 
     House Executive Director Alfonso Acamporo, who made $186,000 
     in 1996. Jerome Radwin, a director of the American Foundation 
     for AIDS Research in New York, received the second highest, 
     $181,000, followed by Pat Christen of the San Francisco AIDS 
     Foundation, whose total compensation was $162,000.
       The tax information also shows some executives getting 
     large pay increases at a time when, Petrelis says government 
     funding for AIDS is increasingly scarce.
       In the case of the Washington, D.C., meal program, Food and 
     Friends, tax returns show that Executive Director Craig 
     Schniderman got a 62 percent raise in 1996, from $63,000 to 

                        judging the compensation

       Dan Langen of the National Charities Information Bureau, 
     which monitors tax-exempt organizations, said the issue of 
     how much they should pay their executives is often 
       On one hand, he said, if a multimillion-dollar charity 
     hires a manager who doesn't know how to handle money, it may 
     see revenues--and services--disappear fast. But ``there 
     should be a difference between for-profit compensation and 
     nonprofit. These people might be able to make a lot of money 
     on Wall Street, but when they choose to work for a charity, 
     they have chosen a different lifestyle.''
       The National Charities Bureau says nonprofits should spend 
     at least half of their budgets on the charity mission, not on 
     fund raising or administrative costs. It's a goal exceeded by 
     all groups on the Web site.
       That doesn't satisfy Petrelis.
       He questions spending by Visual Aid, a small charity that 
     helps artists suffering from devastating diseases by 
     providing art supplies and organizing exhibitions. Petrelis 
     noted that the group reported spending only 21 percent of its 
     $159,000 budget on grants for artists' supplies, while much 
     of the rest went to salaries and overhead.
       Visual Aid Executive Director Jim Fisher said without its 
     two staff members, the organization would be unable to put on 
     exhibits, solicit donations of supplies or do any fund 
       ``We're about motivating people with illnesses to start 
     working again,'' he said. ``The Michael Petrelises of the 
     world like to yell at us tiny people, who are just trying to 
     build a base.''
       Petrelis said his pet peeve is the campaign for a $3.7 
     million Memorial AIDS Grove in Gold Gate Park, which 
     solicited donors to pay $10,000 to sponsor a boulder and 
     $15,000 for a park bench.
       Petrelis said he doesn't understand how, at a time when 
     people are still dying of AIDS, groups can be raising $10,000 
     for a boulder.
       But project director Tom Weyand said the grove serves a 
     vital purpose for those who have lost loved ones to AIDS and 
     is not meant to compete with programs helping those fighting 
     the disease. ``It's about memories,'' he said.
       While no nonprofit groups protest having their IRS reports 
     on the Accountability Project Web site, some recoil at the 
     group's efforts to get them to make public all financial 
     records and board meetings.
       The San Francisco AIDS Foundation said it's happy to have 
     its tax filings posted but opposes measures that would 
     require additional paperwork.
       Petrelis said the cooperative treatment program run by the 
     AIDS Foundation, the San Francisco AIDS Health Project and 
     the Shanti Project barred him from group therapy sessions and 
     group events after he got another piece of information and 
     put it on the Web site; a transcript of an AIDS Foundation 
     focus group in which patients were interviewed about the 
     quality of services.
       Petrelis said the foundation charged he had stolen the 
     transcripts and banished him from group sessions as 
     punishment for compromising the confidentiality of survey 

[[Page H2930]]

       The AIDS Foundation and the Shanti Project said 
     confidentiality rules barred them from commenting on 
     Petrelis' status as a client.
       But, while Petrelis and other Accountability advocates are 
     criticized for being confrontational, the movement to require 
     more scrutiny of nonprofits has caught fire.
       ``The bigger nonprofits get, the more chance they get out 
     of touch with their constituencies,'' said Supervisor Tom 
     Ammiano, who plans to introduce legislation Monday requiring 
     more openness from nonprofits getting city money.
       ``We need to make sure the accountability is there so we 
     aren't kept in the dark about what these organizations are 
     doing to earn their keep,'' Ammiano said.

                     Top-Earning Charity Executives

       These executives earned the highest compensation packages 
     of the 28 AIDS charities and other nonprofits that have so 
     far provided IRS information to Project Accountability.
       AIDS Healthcare Foundation-Los Angeles, $30 million annual 
     budget: Michael Weinstein, President, $126,548.
       AIDS Project Los Angeles, $16 million annual budget: James 
     Earl Loyce Jr., Executive director, $144,227; William 
     Misenhimer, Chief financial officer, $114,321; Allen Carrier, 
     Director, $109,915.
       American Foundation for AIDS Research-New York, $17 million 
     annual budget: Jerome Radwin, Chief operating officer, 
     $181,443; John Logan, General counsel, $104,391; Ellen 
     Cooper, MD MPH, Vice president, $157,597; Sally Morrison, 
     Vice president, $100,186.
       Food and Friends, Washington DC meal program, $4 million 
     annual budget: Craig Shniderman, Executive director, 
       Gay Men's Health crisis-New York, $28 million annual 
     budget: Mark Robinson, Executive director, $153,565; Addie 
     Guttag, Deputy director, $139,337; Michael Isbel, Deputy 
     director, $139,337.
       Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund-New York, $4 
     million annual budget: Kevin Cathcart, Executive director, 
       Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services, $17 million 
     annual budget: Name not provided, Executive director, 
       San Francisco AIDS Foundation, $16 million annual budget: 
     Pat Christen, Executive director, $162,294; Jane Breyer, 
     Development director, $117,633; Lance Henderson, Finance 
     director, $110,465; Rene Durazzo, Program director, $100,362.
       Walden House-San Francisco substance abuse program, $14 
     million annual budget: Alfonso Acampora, Chief executive 
     officer, $185,810.
       Whitman-Walker Clinic-Washington DC, $16 million annual 
     budget: James Graham, Executive director, $141,548; Harold 
     Hawley, Medical director, $117,860.
       Source: summaries of charities' most recent IRS 990 forms 
     posted on the Accountability Project Web site. Some 
     charities' reports cover the fiscal year 1995-96, while 
     others cover calendar year 1996.