Ralph Drollinger
Ralph Drollinger is an anti-LGBT bigot. He seems to be a tax cheat as well.

According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, VP Mike Pence, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo are just some of the cabinet members who regularly attend a weekly bible study session led by the very controversial Ralph Drollinger. While much of Drollinger’s “baggage” has been discussed in the past, I want to add Drollinger’s questionable finances to the controversies.

What would a Trump-ette be without financial issues? But first, allow me to restate other matters. For starters, Mike Pence, the sponsor of the study group, is a devout Catholic. According to Drollinger, Roman Catholicism “is one of the primary false religions in the world.” I wonder what Drollinger thinks of Jews. Drollinger has also said that women who have children at home are sinners if they enter public service; a reference to the notion that women belong in their place — in the kitchen. Ms. DeVos is undeterred.

Homophobia aside — for the moment — Drollinger is not exactly a genius. He has stated that gay people could be responsible for “the discontinuation of the species.” Think about that for a moment. What this imbecile suggests is that if everyone “chose” to be gay then reproduction would cease. I will skip Drollinger’s vitriol over marriage equality. It is simply too moronic and repetitious to waste time over. However, Drollinger believes that his flavor of Christianity should be reflected in public policy.

Trump, by the way, never attends these sessions. He is too busy scheming, swindling, cheating on his wife, lying to the citizens and tweeting.

Now, about Drollinger’s finances:

Drollinger operates out of a Santa Clarita, CA operation called Capitol Ministries (“CM”) which is a few thousand miles from D.C. — about $300 round trip coach. Drollinger is 7’2″. Can he fit into a coach seat? First class it’s about $1,000 round trip. Either way, Capitol Ministries is very small and has a negative tangible net asset value. It raises the question of who is funding this travel. Taxpayers? But I have more pressing issues.

CM shows five employees and five independent contractors. I first wonder if those are the same people. If they are, it is impermissible to pay people as both employees and independent contractors. I have greater wonderment over Drollinger’s compensation in 2016. He was paid salary of just $12,404. However, “other compensation” amounted to $106,026. I would bet my pearls that Drollinger is only paying taxes on the 12 thou. Have any of the folks at the White House even looked, let alone asked the question?

Moreover, none of this is reflected as any kind of parsonage allowance. I am unable to parse from the P&L where that $106,026 would have come from, how it was paid and for what purpose. Indeed, there is a mismatch in the return of over $20,000 (figures on different schedules that should be the same). Then there is another $56,241 paid to a disqualified person. That is usually a spouse or offspring of the CEO. Total payroll is $335 thousand. Payroll taxes on that were only $6 thousand or just 1.8% which further demonstrates that Dollinger is receiving untaxed compensation.

On top of that there is bloat. $20K for legal and accounting? Seriously? $66K in advertising and promotion? Seriously? $82K in IT? Come on. $97K in travel? Maybe but that seems duplicated because they are claiming — as an expense — “Bible Study and other” at $105K. It is too small to be audited but Bible study is not an expense item. Throw in another $15K in “hospitality expense.” What on earth is that?

The bottom line to all of this is that I would speculate that Dollinger is receiving perhaps $200,000 and probably paying taxes on just $12,000. And he comes to the White House once weekly.

There is one other item that looks like a force. I need to digress a bit. Let us say that Company A buys Company B for $100,000. Company B has a net worth of $75 thousand. That creates an intangible asset called “good will” for Company A of $25,000 which will be amortized (expensed) over time.

CM is showing intangible assets at the start of the year of $17K and $32K at the end of the year. How in the hell does a small nonprofit have intangible assets and how did it increase? Typically when we speak of intangible assets relating to a charity, it refers to the perceived value of the charity to grant makers, above and beyond the balance sheet. What this looks like is another $15,000 of expenses that CM is trying to hide on top of what it secreted the prior year.

In addition there is a supplemental item on schedule O: “GIK RENT EXPENSE -28,122.” GIK stands for Gift in Kind. They add it in and then back it out and it is $100 less than the Net Asset Value on the balance sheet. Coincidence? Were they audited (they won’t be) they would have to explain this.

Drollinger might have perfectly rational explanations for all of this (except the intangible assets which defies rationale). Doesn’t the White House have an obligation to fully vet someone who is essentially in a leadership position; someone who could (and wants to) influence public policy? If the answer to that question is yes, then someone should don sleeve garters and green eye-shade and come up with a list of questions to ensure that Drollinger is beyond reproach.

Of course we are talking about Donald Trump’s White House. Trump is not beyond reproach. It’s a new day and a new standard.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.