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HSLF Goes All In on Landrieu’s Losing Campaign

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The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends less than 1 percent of its budget on grants to help local organizations care for pets. So we already know what HSUS doesn’t spend its money on—but where exactly does it all go?

Lately, a lot has gone into losing campaigns.

The lobbying arm of HSUS, Humane Society Legislative Fund, poured $132,000 into Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-La.) Louisiana Senate runoff election, which she officially lost over the weekend. For context, that’s the highest spending from any liberal group supporting Landrieu—and more than twice the $53,000 donated by the Democratic State Central Committee.

This sizable expenditure is particularly startling in light of the forecasts (correctly) predicting Landrieu’s loss. Polls showed Landrieu’s running mate, Bill Cassidy (R.-La.), ahead by as many as 26 points preceding their runoff race. (He ended up winning by 12 points.)

This isn’t the first time HSUS/HSLF has funneled donor dollars into lost political causes. Take the 2012 election, when HSLF spent more than $750,000 to oppose Iowa Rep. Steve King (R). HSUS justified this hefty donation—more than half of its political action budget—by insinuating that King supported dogfighting. (In reality, however, King opposed a federal bill on states’ rights grounds—dogfighting is already illegal in all 50 states).

King still won re-election handily.

In the same election cycle, HSUS and its lobbying arm also poured more than $675,000 into passing Measure 5, a North Dakota ballot initiative that would make certain forms of animal cruelty a felony. Unfortunately for HSUS, North Dakota’s agricultural community knew all about its anti-farming agenda: Local farmers, ranchers, and veterinarians teamed up to propose a legislative solution for the next session that would pass similar laws with more precise wording (and without the participation of HSUS). Ultimately, the HSUS-backed Measure 5 lost by a crushing 65 percent to 35 percent margin.

The money funneled into Landrieu’s losing campaign is just the latest episode of irresponsible spending in the HSUS sphere. Twenty-six million to offshore hedge funds in the Caribbean, a $6 million RICO lawsuit settlement, hundreds of thousands of dollars into doomed election campaigns. It will only end when people learn they should give their money elsewhere.

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