The Overall Health of the Brady Campaign

Again, by reader request, I reworked the numbers a bit. beatbox made a good point that combining the total donations and expenses of both the Brady Campaign and Brady Center would give us a better picture of the organization’s overall health. I would agree in very broad terms.*

As you can see, 2008 is really the outlier when you look at the combined revenue/expense model. That shouldn’t be shocking because of not only the recession, but the Heller loss early in the year before most donations arrive. There is definitely a downward trend, but their combined “cushions” didn’t really take a major hit until 2008.

*It was still handy to break down the individual data because that tells us if they are heading for a re-alignment and/or shifting their strategy. At some point, they will need to reorganize and probably rename themselves again. Consider that the main event they use to tug at heartstrings happened just two months after I was born – and I’m approaching the age where women start lying about their age. There’s no context or meaning to it anymore for a good number of Americans. With the courts as the new major battleground for the next few decades, it just makes sense for them to shift their limited resources to litigation and related support services. These are the changes we will see in the organization breakdown featured in the first post on the subject.

12 thoughts on “The Overall Health of the Brady Campaign”

  1. Excellent. I think this is the best chart. It shows that (as of 2008 at least) they still have a little life left in them, but I can’t imagine 2009 showing any improvement.

    What gets me are some of the salaries. I live/work in DC so have a little sense of this.

    $243K for Helmke seems about right, but $151K for their Director of Internet?…especially when their VP of marketing gets $112K?

    And how about the $141K they pay to Sarah Brady?

    I see some tough choices in the offing.

  2. I do, too. Unless they had an angel donor sweep in during 2009, things probably aren’t very pretty there right now. Like I said, I’ve been there with an organization, and I can feel for them.

  3. @beatbox – What does the NRA pay their equivalent positions?

    I’ll dig into some salary research sites later today and see how that compares to other DC salaries.

  4. @Freiheit. Wow, Wayne is pulling $1.2M! I am not going to begrudge anyone making a good living. I just didn’t expect it to be that high.

    1. Given that they are a pretty big organization (company, in the for-profit world) that has to jump through so many legal hurdles (always having political enemies, the divisions between Foundation/General Ops/ILA/PVF, etc.) and they maintain a presence in every single state, plus the United Nations (when needed), it’s really not much. Oh yeah, and consider that they are consistently ranked as the most powerful lobby shop in DC. Really, you’re talking the equivalent responsibility scope of some of the largest companies in the country, if not quite by staff size and resources. I would argue that for all that on his plate, he really doesn’t make that much.

  5. It wasn’t my intent to drag the NRA salaries out, although the filings from the NRA are just as open as those from Brady.

    The point was that when you have political organizations that operate in opposition to each other you have to do your best to level the playing field and hire the same level of talent to run your organizations.

    Another example is hiring the director of something for an arts organization. Yes arts and non-profit orgs are not going to be able to pay quite as much as the corporate sector, however if you need a director level person, you have to make the effort to pay a director level salary if you expect to get anyone who is capable of leading your organization effectively.

    So given what we know about NRA salaries, the Brady Campaign paying their internet guy $125k is really a steal for them. It could even be argued that they need to cough up another $300k or more a year and hire someone better if they expect to make any inroads.

    You can get away with paying lower salaries if you can find what are essentially volunteers to rally to your cause for a pay cut. The challenge there is that you can easily run into the typical problems you have with volunteers, they have bills to pay and its very easy to burn out or see greener grass elsewhere.

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