Discovery Institute: Their 2010 Tax Return

This information may be boring, but we think it’s important, so we always look for the latest tax returns we can find from the neo-Luddite, neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

So you can make comparisons, we discussed their 2005 return in Discovery Institute: Who and What Are They?, and then Discovery Institute: Their 2006 Tax Return, and then Discovery Institute: Their 2007 Tax Return, and then in June of last year: Discovery Institute Tax Returns: 2008 & 2009.

Now we’ve got their 2010 return. You can see it here: Discovery Institute Form 990 for 2010 (34-page pdf file). We remind you that we’re not skilled at reading these documents, so we’ll just give you what we see as the highlights.

The first item of interest is the Discoveroids’ gross revenue. For 2010 it was $4,323,149. In 2009 it was slightly higher — $4,509,577, and in 2008 it was much higher — $5,179,188. Back in 2007 it was $4,256,588.00, which is about the same as in 2010. We don’t see much of a trend; except for a blip in 2008 they seem to be holding steady at pretty much the same level of support.

On the second page they provide a breakdown of their revenue according to their activity. $875,527 was for their transportation work, described as:

Development of a balanced , seamless , and expanded transportation system between Washington , Oregon, and British Columbia through public private partnerships and innovative financing.

After that, they say that $3,028,725 was for their creationism work, described as:

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

But to that we can add to that another $235,524 for what looks like creationist legislative and propaganda work. They describe that as:

Production of public service reports, legislative testimony, articles, public conferences and debates, plus media coverage and the Institute’s own publications in the field of Technology.

If we’re correct in lumping those two items together, then a total of $3,264,249 is devoted to creationism, and that’s 75% of their total revenue. As in the past, it continues to be true that that promoting creationism is the Discoveroids’ principal function.

Page 7 lists their “Officers, Directors, Trustees, Key Employees and Highest Compensated Employees.” One of their Directors is Howard Ahmanson. It’s long been known that he’s a patron of the Discovery Institute.

The Discoveroid president, Bruce Chapman, was paid $159,731 plus $4,951 “other” compensation. For the three prior years he was paid $148K, so he’s had a raise.

Stephen Meyer, vice-president, was paid $150K plus $16,168 “other,” He too has had a raise. He was paid only $125K in 2009, $140K in 2008, and $102,500 back in 2007. John West’s salary isn’t shown, but he was paid $120K in 2009.

On page 14 of the pdf file there’s a five-year summary of their revenue. From 2006 through 2010 they received $21.5 million. Most of that has been spent on promoting creationism.

On page 26 they list their grants. They gave $220,000 to what they call “Biologic,” which is their in-house research facility, and they describe its activity as “Scientific Research.” On page 28 they list their grants for “Fellowships.” There are three categories: Eight people got “CSC Fellowships,” for a total of $108,082. One person got a “Technology Fellowship” for $120,000, and two people got “General Fellowships” for a total of $56,600.

The tax return has a mass of other information. We don’t know what to make of it, but perhaps you do. If so, let us know.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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6 responses to “Discovery Institute: Their 2010 Tax Return

  1. davebookcampdirector

    Let’s see: $3 million for churning out news releases and PR books, which is mainly denials that evidence for evolution is true, while spending $500,000 for “research.” Sounds like a propaganda mill to me.

    And what about this “research?” How many field studies to they fund? Have the Discoveroids ever even funded one expedition to locate Noah’s Ark? Or does all of their “research” consist of quote mining the work of legitimate scientists?

    I wish they would explain.

  2. I tried to do a little research on their tax exempt status, but hit a dead end. They claim one, but I don’t know on what grounds. Perhaps you could investigate that further and see if it sounds legit.
    I know also that in the past the Bill Gates Foundation made donations to them for their work on ‘transportation issues,’ or so I was informed. I always wondered how they could keep that separate from their creationist ‘work.’

  3. Two questions:

    1. Do you know what the average Discoveroid lackey gets paid? I have a vague notion that it’s in the $40-50k, but have nothing to back it.

    2. Is there any indication of revenue from books they produce? Or are they simply a creationism loss-leader?

  4. davebookcampdirector”Have the Discoveroids ever even funded one expedition to locate Noah’s Ark?”

    Why? Unlike AiG and ICR, they know that there’s no Ark, so why would they waste their “hard earned” money?

    Everyone mark my words: It may take decades, maybe even a century, but Biblical groups like AiG and ICR will either go extinct or evolve the Discoveroids’ “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” strategy. And they will practice that calculated evasion even where it’s fully legal to spill all the details, including the designer’s identity. Why is that? Like the Discoveroids did, the Biblicals are slowly demonstrating an awareness that the evidence ain’t there, and that even if they get “creative” with seeking and fabricating, the best they can ever come up with is a pathetic concoction of mutually contradictory, easily refuted just-so-stories.

  5. @Frank J
    Hi Frank – I’ve been reading your posts and definately agree with you on just about everything, but my feeling is that the DI goons are all in it for a quick buck; I believe that their salaries are well over the amount euryops envisions, in order to make selling out their educations and embarrassing themselves worth it. Knowing their BS isn’t sustainable, I doubt they consider a real future for the DI but are bent on milking it for the short term. My gut feeling also tells me that they only publish in order to promote confidence from their base, patrons in particular, and their real raison d’etre (and real earnings) is the legislative service they provide to, for instance, the many insufferable “family values” organizations.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if every piece of creationist/ID legislation directly or indirectly had its beginnings at the DI: The Origin of the Specious.

  6. $150K to Steve Meyer!!!! No wonder he abandoned his college position at Whitworth College here in Spokane (as one of the science education staff there informed me in an email some years ago, they were mighty happy to see him depart btw). It must be doubly gratifying for Meyer to find the Discovery Institute such a congenial haven away from the slings and arrows of genuine academic life. James Downard