D.C.'s million$ club grows
Influencing policy can be lucrative work for the leaders of nonprofit trade groups and think tanks.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Those who run the White House and Congress make in the low- to mid-six-figures. Those who run the organizations that seek to influence public policy easily can make more -- in some cases far more.

The National Journal, a nonpartisan weekly publication on politics and policy, recently published its biennial salary survey of annual pay packages pocketed by the leaders of 597 trade associations, think tanks, labor unions and professional societies.

Using information reported for 2003 and 2004 to the IRS and the Labor Department, the National Journal found plenty of million-dollar-plus total pay packages. This year the number reached 48, up from 18 in 2000.And 145 executives now make $500,000 or more, up from 98 in 2000.

In some instances, an executive's package may be higher than normal in the year reported due to a one-time payment for deferred compensation, severance and retirement benefits.

That's what accounts for much of the $11 million pay package enjoyed by Jack Valenti, who retired in 2004 from the Motion Picture Association. His compensation for the year accounted for just under $2.4 million of his total pay.

Ditto for U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donaghue. He received $6.8 million, nearly three-quarters of which was due to supplemental retirement benefits accrued over 19 years.

Others who received exit payouts or retirement benefits included Carl Feldbaum of the Biotechnology Industry Organization, Matthew Fink of the Investment Company Institute, Alan Holmer of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association, and Craig Fuller of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

All the organizations surveyed are nonprofits. They can make their money in a variety of ways, including through membership dues, like the National Association of Realtors, and ticket sales and booth fees for conventions, like the Consumer Electronics Association, said Bara Vaida, who conducted the survey.

And the organizations are paying their leaders more because "their efforts, particularly on behalf of corporate America, have greatly boosted their members' bottom lines. In addition, the associations' influence has grown since President Bush took office, as many CEOs have helped to raise money for lawmakers from both parties and have vigorously supported the administration's policy agenda," Vaida wrote.

Plus, the demands of the job have expanded beyond advocacy to include providing member benefits in an increasingly competitive environment and polishing an industry's public image, sources told Vaida.

Not everyone in the survey pulls down sky-high pay. Executive directors of public-interest groups made the least, earning a median salary of $184,881.

But some don't come anywhere close to making six figures. The president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals makes just $35,664 a year.

Below is a list of the top 50 total pay packages. The National Journal survey also broke out pay by compensation only. For a look at that list and at Vaida's full report, click hereTop of page

Top 50 total pay packages
Top Officer Organization Compensation, Benefits
and Allowances
1. Jack Valenti Motion Picture Association of America $11,081,112
2. Thomas Donohue Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. $6,784,945
3. Craig Fuller National Association of Chain Drug Stores $3,125,567
4. Robert E. Vagley American Insurance Association $2,763,968
5. Terrence McDermott National Association of Realtors $2,752,415
6. Eugene Upshaw National Football League Players Association/NFL Players Inc. $2,313,185
7. E. Edward Kavanaugh Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association $1,980,120
8. James May Air Transport Association of America $1,960,629
9. Walter McCormick United States Telecom Association $1,875,504
10. Jack Faris National Federation of Independent Business $1,678,243
11. Robert Sachs National Cable and Telecommunications Association $1,653,473
12. Scott Serota Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association $1,498,018
13. Frank J. Iarossi American Bureau of Shipping $1,429,542
14. Donald G. Ogilvie American Bankers Association $1,407,021
15. E. Linwood Tipton International Dairy Foods Association $1,389,588
16. Richard J. Davidson American Hospital Association $1,379,312
17. Red Cavaney American Petroleum Institute $1,358,219
18. Mitch Bainwol Recording Industry Association of America $1,345,984
19. Thomas R. Kuhn Edison Electric Institute $1,331,584
20. Carl Feldbaum Biotechnology Industry Organization $1,296,716
21. David N. Parker American Gas Association $1,278,752
22. Steve Bartlett Financial Services Roundtable $1,271,755
23. Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. American Gaming Association $1,256,652
24. Karen Ignagni Americaís Health Insurance Plans $1,236,422
25. Frank A. Keating American Council of Life Insurers $1,218,941
26. Edward O. Fritts National Association of Broadcasters $1,200,238
27. Ronald J. Streck Healthcare Distribution Management Association $1,193,225
28. Charles M. Barclay American Association of Airport Executives/Foundation $1,186,235
29. Gregori Lebedev American Chemistry Council $1,185,830
30. Franklin W. Nutter Reinsurance Association of America $1,162,922
31. Steve Largent CTIA—The Wireless Association $1,158,883
32. Peter H. Cressy Distilled Spirits Council of the United States $1,156,644
33. Pamela G. Bailey Advanced Medical Technology Association $1,134,394
34. John J. Castellani Business Roundtable $1,113,016
35. John M. Fahey Jr. National Geographic Society $1,111,784
36. Richard Cavanagh Conference Board $1,100,494
37. Marc E. Lackritz Securities Industry Association $1,093,496
38. Jack N. Gerard National Mining Association $1,077,710
39. Robert A. Stein American Bar Association $1,065,832
40. Edward R. Hamberger Association of American Railroads $1,064,529
41. Micah Green Bond Market Association $1,056,725
42. Joe Sanders American Academy of Pediatrics $1,055,339
43. Jonathan L. Kempner Mortgage Bankers Association of America $1,031,739
44. Matthew P. Fink Investment Company Institute $1,030,802
45. John K. Crum American Chemical Society $1,025,666
46. Barry C. Melancon American Institute of Certified Public Accountants $1,011,763
47. Alan F. Holmer Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America $1,007,759
48. Donald Fehr Major League Baseball Players Association $1,002,064
49. Edward Black Computer & Communications Industry Association $998,450
50. John H. Graham IV American Society of Association Executives $995,856
Source: National Journal Group. Dollar amounts based on information reported for 2003 and 2004.
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.

Or, visit Popular Alerts for suggestions.
Manage alerts | What is this?