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May 29, 2022

Executive Compensation at Americans For Prosperity (2018)

by Anne Paddock

Americans For Prosperity (AFP) is a conservative political advocacy committee (PAC) founded in 2004. AFP is actually two organizations:  AFP, the social welfare organization and therefore a 501 (c) (4), and the Americans For Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), an “educational” organization, a 501 (c) (3).

Both organizations are tax-exempt non-profits with two major differences between them:  donations to AFP are not tax deductible while donations to AFPF are tax deductible; and, as a 501 (c) (4), AFP can engage in more lobbying (businesses and unions can donate unlimited amounts of funds) while AFPF, as a 501 (c) (3) can only engage in a limited amount of lobbying because the organization is considered an educational organization.

There are 6 independent voting members (directors) on the governing body, 4 of whom are male and 2 of whom are female.

In 2018, AFP raised $97 million, primarily from contributions, gifts, and grants.  Expenses totaled $90 million with most revenue spent on advertising and promotion ($41 million), compensation ($25 million), office-related expenses ($10 million), fees for services ($7 million) and travel and conferences ($5 million).  In other words, most revenue is spent on advertising, compensation, and office-related expenses.

Both organizations operate out of the same address in Arlington, Virginia and appear to share employees. AFP reports on the IRS Form 990 (2018), they have 406 employees who received $25 million in compensation, which equates to an average compensation of $62,000.  55 employees were compensated more than $100,000 with the 10 most highly compensated reported to be:

  • $699,660:  Emily Seidel, CEO
  • $495,303:  Tim Phillips, President
  • $357,937:  Chase Downham, SVP, State Ops and Grassroots Strategy
  • $346,646:  Brent Gardner, VP, Gov’t Affairs
  • $325,769:  Jorge Lima, SVP, Policy
  • $303,518:  Daniel Garza, Executive Director
  • $289,680:  Slade O’Brien, VP, Grassroots Leadership
  • $281,904:  Victor Bernson, Secretary, VP, and General Counsel
  • $210,756:  David Johnson, Sr Director of Training/Development
  • $168,775:  Teresa Oelke, SVP of State Ops (part year)*

The 10 most highly compensated employees received $3.5 million in compensation (from both AFP and AFPF).

“*”:  Teresa Oelke received $63,750 in a separation of services agreement.

AFP paid for first class travel.

IPO, a controlled entity by a substantial contributor, The Seminar Network received $43 million in fees paid for media services.

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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