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Super PAC, Outside Spending Chiefs Make Big Bucks

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo
Donohue pulled in $5.5 million in 2012, making him one of the top-paid association executives in the nation that year.

On paper, Gerald McEntee, former president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, looks like the nation’s best-paid labor leader. In the first half of 2012, before he stepped down as AFSCME president to be replaced by Lee Saunders, McEtee pulled in $1 million, according to the annual report file by the union with the Labor Department. But that figure includes what amounts to severance pay of two weeks’ worth of salary per year over McEntee’s more than three decades with the union. His 2011 compensation was $394,871.

The incomplete salary disclosures pose “a very serious problem” said Craig Holman, government affairs lobbyist for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Executive salaries must be pieced together from reports filed to the Labor Department, the FEC and the IRS, all on different schedules and using different formats. That invites abuse from political players, he warned, particularly since the money trail can be obscured by transfers between groups: “As long as we don’t have any disclosure of salaries, we’re just leaving the barn door wide open here.”

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