Capitol Hill on Steroids: Round 2

Clemens's shaky foundation.

Henry Waxman has proven himself to be one of the sharpest, no-bullshit congressmen, especially during the agonizingly long Bush-Cheney war of terror. But I have to say that he was being far too charitable this morning about Roger Clemens's charitable work.

At the start of this star chamber session, Waxman praised the Roger Clemens Foundation.

Look at the foundation's tax returns before you get too effusive. Yes, there are many donations, most of them small, to various groups. It's also a handy writeoff for Clemens's donation of baseball tickets and memorabilia. You call that charity?

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More important, the Form 990 return filed by Clemens's nonprofit for the 2005 calendar year (the latest available; see it here for free on Guidestar.org) shows that it spent $445,527 on "program services" (the charity stuff) but $188,810 on "management and general."

In other words, nearly one-third of the foundation's monies were spent on management. The ballpark figure for good foundations is 10 percent, or one-tenth.

The expenses, of course, are typical for an athlete's foundation: golf events and the like.

Overall, you'd have to say that Clemens is niggardly with his charitable work. To put his foundation's $445,527 worth of good works in perspective, consider that, based on his 2007 salary, he earned $147,451 per day — yes, per day.

Three days of his salary is about how much this philanthropist spends on charitable work. For that, he gets a nifty tax writeoff for hosting golf events and giving away sports memorabilia and game tickets.


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