Saturday, March 26, 2016

Human Rights Campaign Is Helping the GOP to Retain the Senate

I have been critical of the Human Rights Campaign in the past and most recently by the organization's insane endorsement of GOP senator Mark Kirk over LGBT supportive Democrat Tammy Duckworth.  I think for many, this last action is the final straw and HRC - which likes to describe itself as the larges LGBT rights organization - is perhaps poised to see a massive exodus of folks.  I am asking them to cease counting me as a member (like the Catholic Church, until one formally says "remove me from the membership rolls" HRC will continue to count one as a member to swell the numbers).  One of the best take downs of HRC is a piece by Michelangelo Signorile in Huffington Post.  Here are excerpts:

In the past 24 hours, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT group, has come under intense fire on social media, including from many transgender people, for its lack of a strategy in combating the rapid passage of a heinous anti-LGBT law in North Carolina which strips existing LGBT anti-discrimination ordinances in the state and bars transgender people from using public restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.

But that criticism has followed an even more intense, week-long pummeling of the group on social media as well as from pundits and commentators, because of the group’s very curious endorsement earlier this month of Senator Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican whose defeat in November is critical to the Democrats winning back control of the Senate.

Kirk, in a very tough re-election, has come out in support of The Equality Act, a sweeping federal anti-discrimination bill protecting LGBT people, and had voted to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.” But Kirk has only earned a score of 78 percent out of 100 percent from HRC, while his opponent, Democratic House member Tammy Duckworth, has a score of 100 — in addition to a real shot at taking the seat and handing Democrats the Senate. David Nir, political director at Daily Kos, called the endorsement as “appalling as it is embarrassing,” and “pathetic and stupid.”

At The New Republic, Eric Sasson rightly pointed to HRC’s “serious diversity problem” per an internal report that leaked, and to the optics of backing a white male Republican with a meager score over a woman of color and a combat veteran who lost both of her legs in the Iraq war — and who has a perfect score. Chris Geidner at Buzzfeed had obtained the internal report last year, which called HRC “exclusionary,” “sexist,” and “homogenous.” This endorsement certainly lent more credence to that.

It’s hard to fathom that anyone who supports full equality believes these meager attempts are really worth keeping the Senate in the hands of the GOP. It’s not the ‘90s, when individual senators had more clout and we could pass legislation with simple majorities. Mitch McConnell changed the way the Senate operated — and he’ll be the beneficiary if Kirk wins. HRC, often in that ‘90s time warp, has worked against the best interests of the LGBT community as recently as 2014, when the group was still supporting the narrow Employment Non-Discrimination Act, with its terrible religious exemption, while every other national LGBT group — except the Log Cabin Republicans — had joined the 21st century and pulled support.

The simple truth is that in 2016 in Illinois we don’t need Mark Kirk — he needs us.  . . . . And the first vote he’ll take upon winning back his seat will be a cowardly one to make the anti-gay McConnell (with an HRC score of 0) the Senate Majority Leader again.

There’s no question that the Democrats’ path to taking back the Senate very much includes defeating Kirk, who is in the bluest state among those where GOP senators are embattled. So HRC’s action does raise questions about how committed the group really is to seeing the Democrats take back the Senate, and if it perhaps has conflicting interests.  Daily Kos’s David Nir surmised that HRC’s Kirk endorsement is all about keeping “donations flowing from corporations and wealthy gay Republicans,” and he may be on to something.

[I]t’s no secret that GOP leaders have focused on putting all of their efforts on retaining the Senate. Surely Paul Singer will be critical in that effort, bringing hard and steady pressure to bear wherever it is necessary. It’s not a surprise, then, that the American Unity Fund, which Singer founded, has been tweeting and retweeting support of HRC for its endorsement of Mark Kirk, in what seems like an attempt to counter the many LGBT people who are expressing their anger and to whom HRC believes it is not answerable.

If HRC is not answerable to LGBT people, however — and its president, Griffin, rarely even gives interviews to LGBT media, while speaking often in the larger media — exactly to whom and what is it answerable, and what are its true priorities? One thing is clear: HRC doesn’t speak for the LGBT community, and the sooner that politicians and those in the media grasp that, the smarter they will be.

Personally, I believe that all that HRC cares about is money - money needed to retain the plush salaries of those like Chad Griffin, a Judas to the LGBT community.  Stop making donations to HRC and demand that you not be counted as a member.

1 comment:

EdA said...

Chad Griffin's "explanation" is even worse than the HRC endorsement. Despite having lived in D.C. for a decade, it had not occurred to me to check HRC's compensation.

Thanks to a William Segrave, whom I don't know, who posted a link to HRC's 2014 990 form on the Charity Navigator

HRC top management salaries are on page 9. Chad Griffin got $404,712, seven of the top executives got over $200K EACH and another got $195K. (See also page 109.) I will let these figures speak for themselves.

To put this into further context, Schedule I, beginning on page 103, shows the cash support provided to the 30 organizations that received cash support. I point out that Equal Rights Houston got the whopping amount of $10,000. Equality North Carolina got $25K as did the Equality Foundation of Georgia. We know what the status of equality in Houston and North Carolina is now and what the status of equality in Georgia is likely to be should the sociopaths and psychopaths get their way. I venture to suggest that had the half-million dollars or so wasted on a couple of vice-presidents been used instead for productive advocacy, our brothers and sisters might not now be third-class citizens.