Discovery Institute: Their 2016 Tax Return

Once again, we go through the annual chore of discussing the Discoveroids’ latest tax return. But we have to warn you that your Curmudgeon has neither the skill nor enthusiasm needed for reading these things. All we can do is give you what we see as the highlights. Therefore, don’t rely on our interpretation — you should reach your own opinions.

With that disclaimer, we bring you the thrilling news that the latest tax return of the Discovery Institute is now available — you can see it here: Discovery Institute Form 990 for 2016 (it’s a 54-page pdf file).

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 Discovery Institute Tax Returns: 2008 & 2009, and then their 2010 tax return, and then their 2011 Tax Return, and then their 2012 Tax Return, and then their 2013 Tax Return, and then their 2014 Tax Return, and most recently their 2015 Tax Return.

The first item of interest on the 2016 tax return, on the first page, is the Discoveroids’ gross revenue — from “contributions and grants,” ignoring revenue from other items like investment income. Here’s what the latest return shows, with historical information from their older returns described in our earlier posts:

2016: $5,461,966
2015: $5,773,002
2014: $4,698,817
2013: $3,876,700
2012: $4,964,321
2011: $5,433,226
2010: $4,323,149
2009: $4,509,577
2008: $5,179,188
2007: $4,256,588
2006: $4,165,847
2005: $2,784,188

Interestingly, their revenue from “contributions and grants” was $312K less than the year before — which was their best year ever. Although lower then the previous year, 2016 was their second-best year — at least since we’ve been paying attention.

We have to ask what we ask every year. After burning through all that money – more than $55 million in the years we’ve displayed above — what do the Discoveroids have to show for it? As in the past, we leave that as an exercise for you, dear reader.

The next item that interests us is the breakdown of their spending according to activity. That’s disclosed in question 4 on page 2 of the return. For their three biggest programs, here’s what they spent: The first item was $4,034,611, which is almost 74% of their revenue. The next two items are $245,599 and $187,693. You have to hunt around to find out what those items are. For each item it says “see additional data,” and there’s no clue where that is. These forms are a bureaucrat’s delight! Anyway, we assume that $4 million item is their creationist activity, because that’s how it’s been in the past.

Page 7 lists their officers, directors, etc., and it discloses their compensation. Looking at the Directors first, they list Bruce Chapman, Chairman. He’s the only Director who was paid, and it was $79,560. Last year it was $82,306, and the year before it was $122,906.

Howard Ahmanson continues to be listed as one of their directors, without compensation. It’s long been known that he’s a patron of the Discovery Institute. There are a dozen other directors listed. They receive no compensation, so we assume they’re also patrons — but we really don’t know. They also list Steven Buri as President. He was paid $150K, and John West (whom we call “Westie”) is shown as Vice President. He got $126K. Page 8 lists some other employees. Stephen Meyer, who has no title, got an amazing $250K. The year before it was $200K.

There’s probably an ark-load of other information buried in that form, but we can’t look at it any more. If you find something of interest, please let us know.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “Discovery Institute: Their 2016 Tax Return

  1. I can see those Fellows are suppressed, suppressed I tell you! All the way to the bank.

    There must be a considerable number of them for whom the Toot has become a nice, warm fire to sit by without ever having to do anything much besides crying persecution. I wonder what Klinghoffer makes for barking their blog full of bollocks every few days.

  2. Oh and I wonder what their reserves are. Any way of finding out?

  3. If the IDiots are what I suspect they are the reserves of the DiscoTute are zero. The IDiots themselves may have personal reserves of course, in case their happy life in Crea Cockaigne will come to an end.

  4. It’s rare, but PZ Myers has beaten our dear SC with this important creationist news.

  5. FrankB says: “It’s rare, but PZ Myers has beaten our dear SC with this important creationist news.”

    I knew about those numbers a couple of days ago, but I wouldn’t post about them until they appeared in some newspaper, so I could provide a link to the source.

  6. Nice if you can get a quarter million to pretend to do science.

  7. Have you noticed the Independent Contractor section? For research, Berlinski $125.00, Gilder $120.00

    So total revenue 5,677,952, total expenses $5,325,118

    Net assets at end of year $5,307,016

  8. Many of these “scientists” make more than real ones. Higher pay for falsehoods and deceit? Sad.

  9. @Scientist:
    “Higher pay for falsehoods and deceit?”

    Hey – just like Washington, no?