Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return

WE know you’re curious about the finances of the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids). It’s been a little over a year since we posted their 2006 Tax Return.

Get ready for some more thrilling information. The Discoveroids’ 2007 Tax Return is now available online. It’s a 33-page pdf file. We’re not skilled at reading these documents, so as we’ve done in the past, we’ll just give you what we see as the highlights.

Their revenue came from almost $4 million in contributions, plus some “program service revenue” and other items, resulting in a grand total of $4,256,588.00. For comparison, the 2006 tax return showed total revenue of $4,165,847, and in 2005 it was just under $3 million. The creationism business is flourishing!

Page 3 is interesting. The Discoveroids break down their expenses according to activities. Their work on transportation ate up $1,004,331, almost 25% of their revenue. But nearly half of their revenue, or $1,945,954, was expended for the activity described as:

Production of public service reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institutes own publications in the field of Science and Culture.

That is, we assume, their public relations work on behalf of intelligent design. This is the first time we’ve seen that kind of breakdown, and it confirms our suspicion that promoting creationism is, after all, the Discoveroids’ principal function.

Page 5 lists “Current Officers, Directors, Trustees, and Key Employees” and their salaries and expense accounts. The Discoveroid president, Bruce Chapman, was paid $148K, the same as the prior year, but this time they paid $10K more expenses for him. Vice President Stephen Meyer was paid $102,500, which is $10K less than the year before; but the expenses they paid for him were $21K more than the prior year. Make of that what you will.

Schedule A lists “Compensation of the Five Highest Paid Employees Other Than Officers, Directors, and Trustees.” There are only two names we recognize. John West’s salary was $100K. He didn’t make that list on the 2006 return, so he’s doing well. The other name we recognize is Richard von Sternberg. You know him as a principal (along with Stephen Meyer) in the infamous Sternberg peer review controversy. Von Sternberg was paid $77,375, and he wasn’t on the prior year’s list either.

Page 30 of the pdf file lists their Board of Directors. Howard Ahmanson is there, of course. It’s long been known that he’s a patron of the Discovery Institute. The following page, still listing directors, mentions two people connected to Microsoft. Their names mean nothing to us, but why does the Discoveroid Board have two members with a Microsoft connection? Who knows? Maybe it’s just the proximity of Seattle and Redmond. Anyway, there they are.

If you know how to read tax forms, maybe you can get more out of this one than we can. At this point, however, your Curmudgeon has reached his limit. For what it may be worth, you have a link to the Discoveroids’ tax return. Dig in if you like that sort of thing.

Related information: See Creationist Financing at Panda’s Thumb. Also see: Funding the Creationism Industry.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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12 responses to “Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return

  1. A cool two million flushed down the crapper.

  2. James F says: “A cool two million flushed down the crapper.”

    In one year. They’ve been at this for quite some time.

  3. Gabriel Hanna

    While the DI principal purpose is in fact promoting intelligent design, they also study transportation issues (Cascadia project) and that is why two Microsoft guys are on the board.

    Discovery Institute’s Cascadia Center for Regional Development (former Cascadia project)[43] focuses on regional transportation. The Cascadia Project started in 1992 with Bruce Agnew, former Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative John Miller, serving as the director. In 2003, Thomas Till was brought in as Managing Director, after leaving his post as Executive Director of the Amtrak Reform Council.[44]

    Cascadia attempts to forge alliances between local governments to ease traffic congestion in the Pacific Northwest, utilizing focus groups[45] as well as forming citizen panels and public forums.[46] In conjunction with Microsoft, Cascadia sponsored a session involving elected officials, entrepreneurs and public policy experts including Washington State Representative Dave Reichert and former CIA director James Woolsey to discuss varying proposals for securing U.S. ports and diversifying America’s energy portfolio.[47]

    The Cascadia project is funded in part by a large grant from the Gates Foundation.[48] It recently created its own Web site to ensure an individual identity and distance itself from the institute’s controversial role in promoting intelligent design.[23]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Institute

  4. Gabriel Hanna says: “… and that is why two Microsoft guys are on the board.”

    Even so, it’s a Board that is primarily supervising a creationist operation. Surely they know that.

  5. Gabriel Hanna

    Even so, it’s a Board that is primarily supervising a creationist operation. Surely they know that.

    I’m sure they DO know that, but that’s not what they are there for.

  6. “The Cascadia project is funded in part by a large grant from the Gates Foundation.[48] It recently created its own Web site to ensure an individual identity and distance itself from the institute’s controversial role in promoting intelligent design”

    As with most things to do with public images this is about perceptions, and not anything more of substance. Cascadia still part of Discovery Institute even though they try to pretend they separate now. Therefore, if Microsoft thinks Cascadia a worthwhile project to back, they need those board members on the Discovery board. To try to control a little of what Discovery does, to minimise the damage they can do to Cascadia.

  7. You must be wrong. ID is science. So most of that $ was spent on research. 😉

  8. I wonder if you were to get a research facilities return and an advertising agencies return, which one would it resemble more? Or maybe a lobbyist firm?

  9. Does the tax return have an expense deduction for “Proxy Exorcisms to relieve the Satanic influence on The Sensuous Curmudgeon”?

  10. Longie asks:

    Does the tax return have an expense deduction for “Proxy Exorcisms to relieve the Satanic influence on The Sensuous Curmudgeon”?

    They must be aware of this blog, but they’ve always ignored me. That’s a peculiar reaction, but silence is fine. I don’t need Casey yipping at my heels.

  11. retiredsciguy

    SC, speaking of the Discoveroids:
    “They must be aware of this blog, but they’ve always ignored me. That’s a peculiar reaction, but silence is fine. I don’t need Casey yipping at my heels.”

    Oh, I’m sure they are aware of you, and most likely read your blog daily, as well as all comments.

  12. retiredsciguy

    My mouse slipped and hit “Submit” unintentionally.
    To continue, the DI probably chooses not to comment to deprive you of the satisfaction of knowing how much you’re getting under their skin.