CAIR by the Numbers

CAIR by the Numbers
By Patrick Poole | May 24, 2007

Last week the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released their 2006 Annual Report, which provides some interesting information to outside observers of the radical Islamic front group. Back in February, I noted in an article here at FrontPage, “Numbers Don’t Lie”, that despite CAIR’s claims to be “the largest Islamic civil rights organization in
America”, the facts hardly match their propaganda. In that article I wrote: 

An inspection of CAIR’s most recent publicly available IRS Form 990 (2004) shows for that year they received $119,029 in membership dues for that year (line 3). But at $25 per membership (the current rate is $35), that would mean that in 2004, CAIR only had 4,761 dues-paying members – less than 5,000 members out of 8 million Muslims in
America. This would mean that CAIR only represents 1 out of every 1,680 Muslims. Even if a lower 6 million Muslim population figure were assumed, CAIR would still only be able to claim representation for 1 out of every 1,260 Muslims for that year.

But their new 2006 Annual Report and their recently posted 2005 IRS Form 990 shows that CAIR continues to hemorrhage members. Whereas my estimates for 2004 showed that based on their membership receipts in that period they had approximately 4,761 dues-paying members, in 2005 their membership plummeted dramatically to an estimated 2,615. This puts CAIR on the same comparative membership level as the American Indian Kaw Nation in Kansas, the Cleveland Section of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, the Society for News Design, the University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band, and the South Dakota chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), none of whom are consulted near as frequently by Beltway politicians or sought after for comment by the media establishment as CAIR.


The steep decline in CAIR membership is directly correlated in membership receipts (line 3 of the Form 990), which dropped off from $119,029 in 2004 to $65,377 – a decrease of $53,652, or almost half (45 percent) of the previous year’s membership revenues. If this trend continues at the same pace, their 2006 Form 990 numbers will show $29,419 in membership revenues, representing only 1,177 members, roughly comparable to the membership of the Genealogical Society of Rockingham County, Virginia and the Garden Club of Tacoma, Washington – neither of which has a
Washington DC lobbying office.


Another startling statistic drawn from CAIR’s 2006 Annual Report (page 23, “CAIR Financial Activity Report”) is that the organization, which lists its mission as “civil rights and advocacy”, only commits 9 percent of program services to civil rights and 10 percent to government affairs – less than one-fifth of their program expenditures. With $1,891,290 spent on program services, this means that only $359,345 (19 percent) was spent on its core mission, $135,013 less than what was spent on fundraising and events by the group ($494,358).


In another bizarre twist, CAIR also reports (page 23) that 7 percent of its program service expenditures ($132,390) were spent on their membership; yet by its own admission, it only collected $58,750 in membership dues for that period, a net loss of $73,640.


To its credit, CAIR’s IRS Form 990s report that they do make money on their annual fundraising banquets, but just barely. At their 10th Annual Fundraising Banquet in 2004, the event grossed $170,389 in contributions and banquet fees, but paid out $152,917 in expenses, meaning that the group raised a mere $17,472 from the event. In 2005, their annual fundraiser grossed $132,421, almost one-quarter less (23 percent) than the year before, but only had $106,979 in expenses, netting the group $25,442 in funds raised during the event. The drop in membership may be responsible for the drop attendance at the fundraisers: in 2004, more than 1,100 people showed up at the event; by 2006, the annual report states that only around 1,000 attendees were present.


Since representatives from CAIR have identified their organization as “the Islamic NAACP”, a comparison between CAIR and the NAACP might be helpful. In the same period (2005) that CAIR brought in $65,377 in membership revenue purporting to represent 7 million Muslims, the NAACP received $3.317 million from a population of approximately 40 million African-Americans. Even after adjusting for the population size differences between the two, CAIR’s membership footprint amongst their constituency is still is only one-tenth that of the NAACP. CAIR, you are no NAACP.


Also seen in the 2004 and 2005 IRS Form 990s is that direct contributions to the organization (line 1) also saw a sharp decline, dropping from $2,166,270 in 2004 to $1,667,057 in 2005, losing almost one-quarter (23 percent) of their contributions from the previous year.


CAIR supporters might note that those reports indicate an increase of $332,871 in spending on program services (line 13) – a leap of almost one-quarter from the previous year (24.1 percent) – but that number was achieved only by shifting $335,465 from management and general expenses (line 14) between years. Meanwhile, fundraising expenses (line 15) more than doubled, from $262,914 in 2004 to $535,555 in 2005 (a $272,641 increase).


The grim portrait painted by this new financial information shows not only an organization in dire crisis, but also a stark contrast to CAIR’s public rhetoric. Even though it still claims to represent “the interests of more than seven million American Muslims”, in fact, its supporters in the American Muslim community are barely a handful. And its footprint amongst that community is shrinking rapidly. Based on my membership estimates, we find that CAIR actually only represents 1 out of every 2,676 Muslims in the most recent period that information is available, as opposed to 1 in every 1,680 the year before.


Paradoxically, at the very moment that their representation amongst their own constituency is plummeting, CAIR’s stock among political and the media establishment continues to climb. If Wall Street rules applied to K Street, someone would be in jail for inflating their stock. Policymakers and pundits alike would do well to look at CAIR by the numbers rather than by their noise. What they would discover is that American Muslims are abandoning CAIR en masse, and the numbers still don’t lie.

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