Who's Paid More: Head of DHS or of Immigration Lawyers Association?

By David North on October 28, 2011

Both are lawyers, both are women, both are very pro-immigration, both are heads of public sector organizations.

So who is paid more, Janet Napolitano, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, a former governor of her state and currently a member of the president's cabinet, or Crystal Williams, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers' Association, a trade organization?

DHS has more than 200,000 employees; AILA has 57.

A recent (and angry) article in Immigration Daily states that Ms. Williams had a 2010 salary of $226,896 plus perks, for a total of $248,257; cabinet members get $191,300 a year.

The author is not some nasty immigration critic like me; he is Kenneth Rinzler, a Washington immigration lawyer and former Capitol Hill staffer.

Rinzler makes the point that the organization has top-heavy executive salaries: "Thus the four top-paid employees receive about 21% of the salaries paid, with the other 53 persons receiving the remaining 79%. Doesn't sound too equitable for an organization devoted to justice for all, does it?"

Rinzler does not make this point, but Ms. Williams, who works from the AILA building at 1331 G Street NW in Washington, D.C., also has a (fine) office just blocks from the White House, while Ms. Napolitano has been allocated space in the comparative boondocks of Nebraska Avenue, near American University, in one of the outer realms of the nation's capital.

He does point out that AILA is financially well-off, with $4,274,368 in dues collections in 2010 and "savings and temporary cash investments of $2,901,706". His source? The IRS document 990, which is required of all non-profit organizations.