Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DeMint's Salary at Heritage Revealed for First Time

One can argue whether the Heritage Foundation is in decline, but one cannot argue when it comes to the think tank's dominance in terms of salary and compensation.

Put simply, Heritage is the Goldman Sachs of think tank pay.

Former Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), who became head of the Heritage Foundation last year, took home a salary (with bonuses) of $614,000 from the conservative think tank, according to tax documents obtained from The Hill newspaper.  Here is more:
DeMint received $614,000 in compensation in 2013 from Heritage, including his $380,000 base salary and a $200,000 bonus, according to the tax document.
When the Republican announced his resignation from the Senate in 2012 to become president of Heritage, it was reported at the time that he would likely earn $1 million.
DeMint, however, did not take over as president until April of 2013, so the compensation reported in the tax return does not reflect his current salary as president. Still, it’s a significant jump from the $174,000 he received annually in the Senate.
Edwin Feulner Jr., the organization’s outgoing president who led Heritage for 36 years, received $3.5 million in compensation in 2013, a figure that could raise eyebrows among the think tank’s critics.
Feulner earned a 2013 base salary of $181,000 and a $700,000 bonus for his service as the think tank’s president in 2012. He also received $2.52 million from a deferred compensation plan into which he contributed $865,000 from 1980 to 2006. The plan accrued $1.66 million in investment earnings.

Annualized over a full year, DeMint's annual salary should be approximately $800,000. That is more than 4.5 times what he made as a senator. [Go Little Green Footballs for the nice guess back in 2012 of a 500% salary increase.]

The Hill also notes that the think tank's annual revenue grew by 31 percent during DeMint's first year at the helm, largely due to a $25.9 million contribution from an "unnamed donor."  Actually, as Think Tank Watch reported at the time of that record-breaking think tank gift, it came from the family of the late Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis.

DeMint is making a killing compared to another former member of Congress affiliated with the think tank - Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO).  Sen. Talent, a Distinguished Fellow at the think tank, made a mere $191,000.  Another notable Distinguished Fellow at Heritage, former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, pulled in $267,000.

Here is a recently updated Think Tank Watch list of think tank salaries.

So, are you ready to apply for a job at Heritage?  If so, you may first want to check out their full-time positions section.  The think tank is looking for eight full-timers at the moment...[We hear that even interns at Heritage are pulling in six-figure salaries...okay, just kidding.]

By the way, have you heard the argument that taxpayers are subsidizing huge think tank salaries?  Dean Baker, Co-Director of CEPR, said this year that think tank head pay should be capped at 20 times the median salary, which is currently around $40,000.  That would cap DeMint's salary at $800,000 per year.