An animal-owners organization is hoping to persuade the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether political lobbying by the Humane Society of the United States is illegal. According to Susan Wolf, spokeswoman for the Sportsmen's and Animal Owners' Voting Alliance, Humane Society of the Unite States' lobbying on national and state levels likely surpasses the boundaries set by its nonprofit status under IRS code.
Wolf says it hardly seems possible that HSUS can pay 26 or 28 state directors to constantly lobby legislatures, file numerous ballot initiatives yearly, some 50 pieces of state legislation, federal bills, pay federal lobbyists, and file three dozen or so lawsuits against USDA and federal agencies - and still remain under allotted lobbying regulations.
Michael Markarian, who serves as HSUS's chief operating officer as well as president of an affiliated lobbying charity, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, says they feel this is an anemic campaign. He says HSUS's spending on lobbying is roughly 4% of its budget, keeping the organization within its limits. In 2008, HSUS reported that it spent about $4.2 million on lobbying, out of a total budget of nearly $100 million.