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March 10, 2021

How Revenue is Spent at Turning Point USA

by Anne Paddock

Turning Point USA (Turning Point) is a tax-exempt, non-profit 501 (c) 3 that advocates conservative principles on high school, college, and university campuses and in convention centers that focus on attracting high schoolers, college students, and young adults ages 15-25 who they often refer to as activists.

Established in 2012 by Charles Kirk, the President who receives nearly $300,000 in compensation, flies first class, and has a discretionary spending account (as do all officers), according to the Form 990 (2019) submitted to the IRS, Turning Point is overseen by 5 voting members of the governing body, 3 of whom are independent. All 5 directors are male.

Total revenue in 2019 was reported to be $29 million, of which $22 million came from contributions, gifts, and grants. $2 million came from a related organization while $5 million came from fundraising events.

Expenses were reported to be $25 million but $7 million of the expenses were a “grant” to an affiliated organization:  Turning Point USA Endowment (which operates out of the same office as Turning Point), which if excluded means expenses totaled $18 million (62% of revenue).  The $18 million in expenses can be categorized as follows:

  • $6.2 million (21% of revenue):  Travel and Conventions
  • $5.8 million (20% of revenue):  Compensation
  • $2.1 million (7% of revenue):  Printing, Publications, Videos, Digital
  • $1.2 million (4% of revenue):  Office-Related Expenses
  • $1.0 million (4% of revenue):  Fees for Services (i.e. primarily other but also legal, fundraising, and accounting)
  • $1.0 million (4% of revenue):  Other Expenses (primarily “other” with no detail provided)
  • $0.4 million (1% of revenue):  Grants
  • $0.3 million (1% of revenue);  Advertising and Promotion

Based on the above information, every $100 in revenue was spent as follows:

$100:  Revenue

-$ 21:  Travel and Conventions

-$ 20:  Compensation

-$  7:  Printing, Publications, Videos, Digital

-$  4:  Office-Related Expenses

-$  4:  Fees for Services

-$  4:  Other Expenses

-$  1:  Grants

-$  1:  Advertising and Promotion

-$ 62: Total Expenses

 $ 38:  Remaining Revenue ($24 given in grants to Turning Point USA Endowment; $14 to general fund)

The above information reveals that Turning Point USA is primarily engaged in convention center events with speakers brought in (including those who are compensated which totaled nearly $300,000) to speak to the “activist” 15-25 year olds, with most of the expenses listed above tied to these events either directly or indirectly.

272 employees received $5.8 million in compensation which equates to an average compensation of $21,000 – very low. 3 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation:

  • $292,423:  Charles Kirk, President
  • $180,983:  Stacy Sheridan, Adv Strategic Director
  • $145,233:  Joshua Thifault, Adv Field Rep

Turning Point paid for first class travel and provided the officers with discretionary spending accounts.

Turning Point paid $304,829 to American Consulting and Graphics (owned by William Montgomery, a former officer) for shipping, printing and design.

Turning Point paid $51,072 to Precision Payroll (owned by Tom Sokeika, a director) for payroll services.

Turning Point paid $15,100 to 218220 Main Street LLC (owned by William Montgomery, a former officer) for a rental lease.

11 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five (5) most highly compensated listed as follows:

  • $478,439:  Rally Forge, LLC, of Queen Creek, AZ for digital education
  • $306,674:  FX Entertainment of Arlington, TX for video production
  • $304,829:  America Consulting and Graphics, of Homer Glen, IL for printing
  • $280,634:  Premiere Speakers Bureau, Inc, of Franklin, TN for speakers fees
  • $221,809:  Shaffer Security Group, of Irving, TX for security

The bottom line is that Turning Point is a tax-exempt non-profit organization that primarily engages in conventions to target 15-25 year olds to hear speakers that support a conservative agenda while paying the President of the organization nearly $300,000 annually, and also paying for first class travel, and providing officers with discretionary spending accounts.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018 for the year ending June 30, 2019), click here.

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