Leading the anti affirmative-action movement is lucrative business, apparently. Ward Connerly, proud affirmative-action opponent and head of the race-neutral American Civil Rights Institute, has faced accusations of profiteering in the past. This time, he’s under some real heat from a former protege who has come forward against him.
And guess who the disgruntled ex-staffer is? None other than Jennifer Gratz, the plaintiff in the landmark 2003 Supreme Court case that ended the race-based admissions policy at the University of Michigan. Gratz, who had joined his staff to conduct research and run campaigns, left in September and accused Connerly of financial and ethical misdeeds. The IRS found that from 2008 to 2010 his annual salary was between $1.2 million and $1.5 million—more than half of the organization’s revenue and in the midst of other staff salaries being “delayed or missed altogether,” as Gratz attorney, Robert Driscoll stated. Although Connerly states that his pay was reduced to $850,000, two other nonprofit anti-affirmative action groups, the Center for Equal Opportunity and the Center for Individual Rights, pay their leaders about $144,000 and $250,000, respectively.
Gratz also claims that the former University of California Regent hired his friends and family, paid employees generously for making “printouts from Wikipedia,” and incorrectly filed W-2 forms that “did not accurately reflect the amount actually paid to employees.”
Why do leaders known for pointing the finger always seem to be the ones guilty of the same deeds they attack? If one believes that race isn’t enough to merit special consideration in admissions and hiring practices, it seems that sitting at the head of an organization and earning big bucks while your staff goes without being paid on time, if paid at at all– should be considered just as amoral, right? Does the whole thing reinforce the long held belief that Ward Connerly’s main interest has always been, well, Ward Connerly?