Congressional Black Caucus leaders paid themselves six-figure salaries


The stated mission of the nonprofit Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBC) is to advance “the global black community by developing leaders, informing policy, and educating the public,” but the group’s leaders are benefiting financially as well.

Recent tax records show that the nonprofit received “more than $500,000 in taxpayer-funded government grants since 2010,” and “seven of its leaders paid themselves six-figure salaries.”

A separate entity from the Congressional Black Caucus, the CBC Foundation’s board of directors include Exxon Mobil lawyer Lonnie Johnson; Earle Jones, the senior director of governmental affairs at Comcast; and Emmett Vaughn, director of the diverse business empowerment office at Exelon, according to a report in The Washington Free Beacon on Friday.

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Throughout Barack Obama’s eight years in office, the foundation has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars through government grants and contracts.

According to data from

  • In 2010, the foundation received its first $120,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • In 2011, the group took in an another $120,000 in grants.
  • In 2012, $119,774 was awarded to the foundation.
  • In 2013 and 2014, the foundation received a total of $226,638 from the government. The group was also awarded tens of thousands more in government contracts in addition to the grants.

Recent tax records revealed that $1,014,142 of the foundation’s expenditures covered salaries and seven employees are making more than six figures.

The CBC Foundation’s website claims that the organization “strives to achieve their goals by facilitating the exchange of ideas and information to address issues affecting the black community, providing leadership development and scholarship opportunities to educate the next generation of leaders, promoting public health and financial empowerment, and developing strategic research and historical resources for the public.”

Tax records from 2014 show that working for the CBC Foundation has been a very lucrative job:

  • President and CEO Shuanise Washington earned $260,000.
  • Samuel Rodriguez, senior director of finance and administration, received $133,539.
  • Tasha Cole, vice president of research development, was paid $126,500.
  • Shirta Sterlin, vice president of communications and marketing, earned $126,500.
  • Majorie Innocent, vice president of research and programs, earned $125,363.
  • Sharon Holloway, senior director of human resources, made $121,658.
  • Krisa Haggins, vice president of external affairs, took in $120,582.

During 2014, the foundation awarded 323 scholarships totaling $600,841. Seventy-three recipients received stipends of $277,025, and other foundations received $25,000 from the CBC.

Many members of the Congressional Black Caucus sit on the CBC Foundation’s board of directors, including:

  • Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas), who chairs the group.
  • Keith Ellison (D., Minn.)
  • Hank Johnson (D., Ga.)
  • Emanuel Cleaver (D., Mo.)
  • Alcee Hastings (D., Fla.)
  • Gwen Moore (D., Wis.)
  • Terri Sewell (D., Ala.)
  • Brenda Lawrence (D., Mich.)

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