The American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), which organized the recent “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, has received no shortage of attention since Sunday night’s shooting where police killed two gunmen who tried to ambush the gathering.
Beneath the back-and-forth about free speech, hate speech, and the group’s long history of public provocations directed at Muslims lies an important, revealing, and very large number:
In one year, AFDI’s total assets increased by 15,199%. In its 2012 tax filings, the group reported just $3,721.00 in end of year resources. AFDI’s firebrand president, Pamela Geller, didn’t even draw a salary. In 2013, though, the group reported its end of year assets at $569,288.00. Geller drew a salary of $210,870.00.
What’s bizarre is that the group’s tax filings note that Geller is paid that hefty salary for only 10 hours of work each week. That means she presumably works (blogs) 520 hours a year at a rate of $405 per hour.
AFDI paid its vice president, blogger Robert Spencer, $29,461.00, which augmented his $186,237 salary by the David Horowitz Freedom Center, bringing his 2013 total to $215,698.
Board members of the group, James Lafferty, Pamela Hall, and Richard Davis, receive no compensation.
The “Draw Muhammad” organizers may believe that their campaign is a “war” to defend “free speech.” That can be debated. What can’t be debated, though, is the fact that those who are leading this imaginary battle are paid a pretty penny to do so.