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Ten Million Dollars Budget?
250,000 Members? Think Again!
By Marie-Jose Ragab
April 5, 2001  

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The US Treasury Department informed Dulles NOW on November 3, 2001, that they had been  "unable to secure a return" for the National Organization for Women (Year 2000), the NOW Foundation (Years 1999-2000) and the Feminist Majority (Year 2000).

Of the many pompous and phony claims NOW leaders fondly trumpet, the most blatantly dishonest are the repeated assertions of political and financial independence from government and political parties, and the advertising of grossly inflated membership and budget figures.  While the putrid Clinton years stunningly exposed the hoax of NOW's political independence, a quick look at the group's tax returns puts the others to rest.  A ten million dollars budget?  250,000 members?  Think again.

Basic tenets of disinformation teach that lies, served over and over, eventually implant themselves automatically in the mind of recipients as unquestioned truths, a principle increasingly substituted as policy in the undefined amalgam of self-serving hustlers entertainingly called "the left" in America today.  From speeches to conferences to brochures to web sites, NOW leaders, the "left" noisiest female subordinates, were effortlessly able to convince a cooperative media, scores of unsuspecting members, the general public and even envious competitors, that the organization was indeed a 250,000-members-$10-million force to reckon with.

The benign propaganda serves multiple not-so-benign causes and, for obvious reasons, financial and membership information are closely guarded secrets, a constant source of internal curiosity and frustration.  For other than the four national officers and their handful of devotees, NOW members, local leaders and many National Board appointees are studiously kept believing in the falsified figures lest the truth either demoralize them into abandoning ship or galvanize them into throwing the swindlers overboard.

Because they are computerized, in-house membership records do reflect the much lower count.  Divided by state, statistics concerning each state and it's chapters are sent to them monthly, but the documents show data relevant to that state only.  It effectively segregates the organization into fifty little groups, each jealously guarding information from the other.  To contact a local leader in another state and ask for membership figures raises immediate suspicion.  In an organization ruled by omerta and denunciation, it guarantees the prompt elimination of the curious.  Yet, even the most obtuse of local leader senses that the publicized numbers are far from a reality they know only too well. 

Since becoming a dissident branch, Dulles NOW has been regularly contacted by NOW members, local NOW leaders, journalists and researchers inquiring about the real financial status of the group.  The requests multiplied after the Clinton presidency ended.  To answer this growing public need, we decided to publish the tax returns filed by the National Organization for Women, the NOW Foundation and the Feminist Majority (formerly Fund for the Feminist Majority) since 1996, the only official data available.  The Feminist Majority was included because it's president, Eleanor Smeal, plays a major hush-hush leadership role within NOW, making her financial records politically relevant.

But other serious considerations colored the decision to end the secrecy under which these groups operate.  As institutions sustained by public donations from which impressive salaries are drawn in exchange for promises to advance and defend civil rights, we believe that donors have the right to know how the groups are managed and how their contributing dollars are spent.  In the case of NOW and the NOW Foundation, it is essential to remember that neither is privately owned.  Originally set up as a non-partisan entity, the fact that the Democratic party could take control of it raises legitimate questions and deserves the scrutiny that democratic teachings demand.  As it stands, it is easy for impartial observers to conclude that NOW and the Feminist Majority simply operate quasi-extortion schemes whereby the boasting of inflated figures serves to con the public into contributing more funds, all under the disguise of advancing women's rights, then to siphon these funds to their political gurus under the same disguise, even if it works against the rights of those they purport to defend, as amply demonstrated during the recorded woman-hating Clinton years.  Hiding behind the banner of "Women's Rights", assisted by the media which provides the visibility needed to fuel their fundraising machine, the marketing tactic essentially profits the party and themselves.  Women's rights?  What women's rights?

In publishing the IRS-certified tax returns, our point is not to haggle endlessly over membership and revenue size nor battle over percentages, as often the case among women's groups.  Whether NOW carries 90,000, 50,000 or 125,000 members is next to irrelevant in a population of almost 300 millions, particularly when a membership has proved as notoriously passive as NOW's.  Furthermore, the dynamic between membership size and grassroots organizing has been permanently weakened by the development of information technologies and by the unlimited funding of political parties, both offering better avenues to arouse constituencies.  Our point is not to decry high personal incomes either.  The struggle to advance the rights of women is mostly harsh and unrewarding.  Such salaries would be justified and deserved provided that the women did the job outlined for them in organizational status, which has hardly been the case.

Our point has to do with the crass and willful dishonesty of a rack-a-buck leadership that looks more and more like the politically appointed party hacks hastily baptized 'feminist leaders" analysts have often described.  The large salaries drawn from donations, the extravagant expense accounts, the government funds, all appear like personal rewards for the willingness to parade in front of the American people, spew lies and bile in the vicious defense of a sexist and racist political party, and for the despicable role played in shoring up a criminal administration regarded the most fraudulent and destructive the United States has ever had.  The problem is not about fudging membership figures a bit - most membership-based groups do that - the problem is the degree to which these so-called women leaders conspire to deceive the public for stardom and money.  Such is the face of female corruption in the American "left" today.  A National Organization for Women?  A Feminist Majority?  In the mind of many, both rather look like a National Organization for Shysters and a Fund for a Lying Majority. 

The contents we present answer the questions we are most asked and are of the public domain.  Original copies of the returns may be obtained, for a nominal fee, from the Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, P.O. Box 9941, Ogden, Utah, 84409, or from Dulles NOW in writing, although we prefer that inquiries be directed to the IRS proper.  All figures are, of course, in US dollars.  The tax tables are self-explanatory but before examining them, please note that the Commonwealth of Virginia advised Dulles NOW on March 12, 2001, that the National Organization for Women may be acting in violation of the Virginia Solicitation of Contribution Law.  We strongly advise anyone wishing to contribute to NOW or to the NOW Foundation to contact the Division of Consumer Protection in Richmond for clarification.  This announcement will remain posted until otherwise advised by the Virginia Government. 

POINTS OF INTEREST:

A.  The National Organization for Women:
  
   Budget:
   - NOW receives government subsidies.
   - The maximum revenue since 1996 is $ 5,555,851, nearly half of the much-touted  $ 10 million yearly resources.
   - $ 1 million in revenue was lost since 1996 (about a 20% drop), mostly in membership dues.
   - $ 660,000 were lost in a single year, the year when NOW sided with the White House in the Lewinsky scandal.  (1998-1999)

   Membership:

   - The bizarre habit of doubling data size is again found here when the 250,000 non-existent members recently grew into a magical 500,000 at the same time that revenues went sharply down.  In reality, membership revenue shows a steady yearly decline.

   - Annual membership fee is $ 35.00 per person.  The group also advertises a 'sliding scale" for "needy" members that few chapter leaders have seen applied. 

   - "Assessments" revenue is incorporated under "Membership and Assessments".  It represents other donations such as charging members for amounts considered to be dues.  For instance, tax experts told us that a building fund such as the one NOW has talked about for years would fall under this category.  Dividing the 1999 membership figure ($ 2,903,383 if taken at membership revenue only) by the yearly individual membership fee ($ 35.00) gives an overall membership of 89,500 or so, one-third of the 250,000 advertised and almost 18 percent of the hilarious 500,000 horde.

   - But sources familiar with NOW income revenues have told Dulles NOW, on condition of anonymity, that the conservative estimated percentage of assessments is close to 30% of the total revenue.  If accurate, as we believe it is, the membership-only revenue for 1999 totals about $ 2 million which translates into 57,000 members or so, a figure many local NOW leaders believe reflect reality, slightly higher than the data we received in confidence. 

   - Because of the remarkable properties of the astonishing "sliding scale", it is entirely possible however that the NOW leadership decided to lower the yearly membership fee to $ 5.00 apiece in order to produce the stupendous 500,000. Along the same vein, we hope they realize that dividing the membership revenue by a $ 1.00 yearly individual membership fee would turn out almost 3 million members while $ 0.25 each would swell the membership well over 10 million, a stunning victory for women.

   Program Services:

   - Chapter leaders, NOW members and outside observers have complained to us that programs have been difficult to find other than on paper.  While it is true that NOW has been largely invisible, other than to defend Democrats in trouble, the complaint is not entirely fair.  Several programs where NOW has been quite active are very successful:

       The S/M Project:  Dedicated to promote and introduce sadomasochist practices.  S/M NOW teams have been hard at work, teaching chapters that sadomasochist acts are manifestation of "love" and that tying, gagging, blindfolding and beating up a woman is not degrading and is, in fact, good for her physical and psychological health.

       Partial-Birth Abortion:  Another terminology for a 'woman's right to chose".  Usually not publicized abroad, this increasingly frequent form of infanticide consists in shifting a near-term fetus so that the entire body can be delivered first, except for the head.  Scissors are then jammed into the skull, cracking a large hole from which the brains are sucked out which causes the skull to collapse.  The dead fetus can then be removed from the womb.  NOW opposes any form of legal restrictions to the procedure. 

       The Worldwide Legalization of Prostitution, with special emphasis on China:  NOW was fully behind Clinton's "Interagency Commission on Women", an arm of the then U.S. State Department, the promoter of legalization.  Supported by Secretaries Albright and Shalala and Mrs. Clinton, the Commission attempted to destroy anti-prostitution laws in China via the United Nations, to allow Chinese women the "freedom" to sell themselves, a human rights clintonian vision. 

       Pornography in Public Libraries: NOW staunchly defends all forms of unrestricted pornography in general, including on the Internet, and believes it ought to be available and unrestricted in Public Libraries as well.

   SALARIES:   - In an organization based on voluntarism, Dulles NOW congratulates the unaccountable National Officers for bringing their salaries to the level of Federal Reserve Chief Alan Greenspan.  We equally applaud their pioneering the 34 hours workweek, giving life to the old saying: "On n'est jamais si bien servi que par soi-meme".  The published incomes do not include the generous expense accounts and travel allowances (see the "Travel" section of the tax returns"), nor other unlisted perks. 

   - In addition, former V/P Elizabeth Toledo received $ 459,779 from Clinton's Department of Health and Human Services to "strengthen national tobacco control".  Repeatedly contacted to disclose disbursement of such taxpayers sums, Ms. Toledo chose to remain silent as did the rest of the national officers informed of the situation.

B.  The NOW Foundation:

   Budget:

   - The revenue is so small that it would be cost effective to close the Foundation. 

   Travel:

   - Travel expenses went from $ 3,557 to $ 39,060 in the year when total revenue decreased from $ 487,925 to $ 384,132, an interesting ratio. 

C.  The Feminist Majority:

   Budget:

   - Receives government subsidies.

   Membership:

   - The annual membership fee is $ 35.00 to " make sure we have the resources we need in the fight for equality" the group says.  They do not appear to own a the magical "sliding scale".

   - Routinely bragging about it's 100,000 plus membership, the Feminist Majority seems unable to resist embellishing reality, much like NOW does.  Because the 1998 "Membership and Assessments" revenue shows a measly $ 317,820, we took that amount as membership revenue only.  Dividing it by the $ 35.00 yearly individual membership gives a grand total of 9,080 members, one-tenth of the 100,000 plus thriving on the group's web-site, unless of course Ms. Smeal secretly charged $ 3.17 per member to generate her mass of followers, or any other combination in between. 

SALARIES:

   Eleanor Smeal hired her husband Charles to manage mail operations.

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