Here is a reply from TRF Trustee Mike McGovern that addresses questions about the 998K Lobbying expense.  As Trustee Mike points out, he makes no comment on the RI / Clinton Foundation Relationship.  


From: Michael McGovern  

Sent: May 23, 2015 8:14 AM 

To: Bill Phillips <email address redacted>

Cc: Steve Sokol  

Subject: Fwd: Polio Advocacy Expense Questions 

Dear Bill

I have had no acknowledgement that you received this email and I saw your recent posting that you have not received any response from Rotary leadership on your questions. 

Please note that you are most welcome to post this response.  

Best regards Mike

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Michael McGovern <email address redacted>

Date: Thursday, May 21, 2015

Subject: Polio Advocacy Expense Questions

To: Bill Phillips <email address redacted>

Dear Bill,

Thank you for your request to the General Secretary for information on Rotary’s spending for advocacy.  My name is Mike McGovern and I am a member of the Rotary Club of South Portland-Cape Elizabeth, Maine and also serve as chair of the International PolioPlus Committee (IPPC) and am the current trustee vice chair.   As all of the advocacy dollars you reference 

​from IRS Form 990 ​are spent for polio advocacy under the direction of the IPPC, I thought it best that I answer your questions relating to advocacy.  There are no TRF or polio dollars spent going to the Clinton Foundation so I have no expertise to answer those questions. ​

First, a little background may be helpful: 

In October 1995, the  trustees of the Rotary Foundation took a decision relating to advocacy as follows:

80.  Definition of Advocacy

Statement:  The Trustees, in October 1993, adopted a definition of advocacy as it relates to PolioPlus efforts.  Upon the recommendation of the IPPC, the Trustees reviewed this matter at this meeting.

DECISION:  The Trustees

1.     adopt the following definition of advocacy for PolioPlus:

"Advocacy" for PolioPlus describes those activities by Rotarians which communicate to leaders at global, national and local levels the benefits of the eradication of polio by the year 2000, so that the financial, technical and other resources required to reach this goal will be committed on a timely basis.  Through advocacy, Rotarians seek to

a.     inform funding sources in potential donor nations of the urgent necessity to make special contribu­tions to the unmet needs of polio eradi­cation programs in polio-endemic countries and encour­age their involvement;

b.     urge leaders in polio-endemic countries to main­tain the highest possible level of routine immu­nization against polio and all vaccine pre­ventable diseases and to undertake polio eradi­cation strategies in accordance with WHO guidelines;

c.     inform the general public about the benefits of polio eradication so as to obtain their support for this goal and for all programs which combat vaccine-preventable diseases;

2.  ask the Board of Directors of RI to concur in this definition;

In 1995, immediately following this decision, the Rotary Foundation hired a government relations firm in Washington DC known as Capitol Associates to help Rotary secure the US Government’s financial and political leadership in support of polio eradication. This firm, and Van Scoyoc Associates who succeeded them​ in 2009​, have represented Rotary for nearly 20 years.  Working with Rotary volunteers, and cooperatively with our global polio eradication partners, these firms have assisted us as the US government through bipartisan support has appropriated over $2.2 billion for polio eradication. 

In 2012-2013, as part of the intensified advocacy activities by all GPEI partners to support the 2013-18 Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan, 

​the ​Rotary ​Foundation launched an expanded advocacy effort with a focus on helping to secure increased funding commitments in key markets including Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the European Union/European Commission, and France. To support this outreach, Rotary has contracted with the consulting firm APCO Worldwide in these markets in order to provide strategic guidance and support to Rotarians in these markets.

The IRS requires Rotary International to report on its lobbying expenditures outside the United States, as well as inside.

You asked,  what is the nature of the lobbying expense on the 990? 

The main cost categories are: 

•·      contracted strategic support from APCO Worldwide

•·      contracted strategic support from Van Scoyoc Associates

•·      cost of events organized in the key markets   – for example, parliamentary briefings on polio eradication and the polio reception held each year on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC

•·      cost of travel for Rotarians to hold meetings with members of parliament, congresses and their staffs,

•·      staff time spent on advocacy which must be reported on the 990

•·      staff travel costs for advocacy

You asked where have the additional funds been directed?

In addition to the priority market of the United States, additional funding has been provided to support outreach in the following key markets:

In 2012-13: Canada, UK, France, Germany, and the EU

In 2013-14: UK, Germany, EU; with small amounts devoted to exploratory research for Japan and Brazil

In 2014-15: Canada, Germany and the EU 

It should be noted that this expanded activity was undertaken at the direction of the International PolioPlus Committee with the approval of the trustees. The International PolioPlus Committee and Rotary leadership was involved in the selection of the firm; as well as the goals and objectives for their work.  Progress toward defined goals and objectives is reported to the IPPC and reviewed at regular meetings. 

You asked,  what measurable outcomes have resulted from this added expense?

See amounts and key highlights  by year:

In 2012-2013:

Canada - Announcement of 5 year commitment of US$247 million + $2.27 million in funds released by the government of Canada to match funds raised by Canadian Rotarians 

Plus – participation of Minister of International Cooperation in two major Rotary events and a joint opinion-editorial released by the Minister of International Development Cooperation and then-IPPC Chair Bob Scott (a Canadian Rotarian)

Germany – announcement of a 5 year commitment of US$139 million

United Kingdom – Announcement of a 5 year commitment of US$ 457 million

European Commission – Commitment of US$6.5 million

*Note – many of the achievements in this year were announcements of pledges by governments made at a Vaccine summit in April 2013. Much of the collaboration since that time has been to ensure that these pledges are converted to cash in the bank for global polio eradication.

In 2013-2014 :

Germany – 65.9 million operationalized

*Significant outreach undertaken to engage new officials and cultivate new support to ensure fulfillment of the multi-year pledge following the October 2013 elections

UK – 168.3 operationalized

Secretary of State for International Development (who is a Rotarian) announced release of funds for polio eradication at Rotary’s Institute

Rotary recognized her as a Polio Eradication Champion and she issued a joint press release with Rotary.

Rotary also organized three events in the UK parliament (October with the Independent Monitoring Board for Polio Eradication; a November briefing; and a celebration of the certification of India as polio free)

EU $6.5 million operationalize and additional 7.4 million contributed

*Rotary led the organization of the first Parliamentary briefing on global polio eradication, featuring the engagement of the European Development Commissioner and key Members of the European Parliament, together with leading representatives of the GPEI partners

In 2014-15 – year still in process

Canada –29.2 operationalized

Presentation of Polio Eradication Champion Award to Prime Minister Stephen Harper during Rotary Institute;

Personal letter of appreciation from Mr. Harper to all Canadian Rotarians;

Recognition by of Rotary by members of Parliament on World Polio Day

Recognition of Rotary as one of 50 extraordinary organizations and individuals that exemplify the spirit of Canada on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag

Special invitation by the Prime Minister to Canadian Rotarians to participate in a Maternal and Newborn Child Health Event co-sponsored with Bill Gates. At this event, the Prime Minister announcement the release of $20 million in funding for polio eradication, and specifically highlighted the award he received from Rotary; and Rotary’s work on polio eradication.

Germany - $24.4 million operationalized

Rotary-led parliamentary event around World Polio Day

Rotary participation in NGO Civil Society forum with Chancellor Merkel

European Union – 11.2 million operationalized – with a request in process for a multi year commitment of EUR200 million

Rotary led photo-exhibit in the European Parliament during the week including World Polio Day

Rotary led meetings to engage newly elected MEPs (elections were held in May 2014 with new parliament starting in summer 2014.

Rotary led European Declaration supporting Polio Eradication (currently in process – to be completed on 9 June)

Note – total funds operationalized/contributed in key non US markets between 2012-13 to the present (not quite 3 years): $315.17 million.  Plus the United States government has given about $140 million each year.  That is about $635 million in total. 

Further note – figures do not necessarily coincide with Rotary years

You asked, what is the projected expense for 2014-15?

The FY15  expenses are projected to be less than ​in ​FY14 as advocacy efforts outside the US were slightly reduced.

You asked,  does TRF plan to continue this activity?

It is anticipated that advocacy by Rotarians will continue until the certification of polio eradication is achieved. The level of engagement and related resources needed to support this activity will continue to be reviewed by the International PolioPlus Committee on a regular basis, and adjusted according to needs and programmatic priorities.

In closing, I understand that some Rotarians are uncomfortable with the notion that Rotary since 1995 has paid for professional representation before the US Congress and more recently parliaments. Rotary alone cannot fund all of the costs for eradication of polio. Of the $11 billion spent since 1985 on polio eradication, Rotary has provided $1.3 billion. 

​​The annual cost is now about $1 billion and Rotary is providing about $110 million including $40 million from Rotarians and $70 million we receive from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.​  In no way do I wish to minimize Rotary's contributions.  It is because, we, the Rotarians of the world, have provided so much money, inspiration and advocacy, that ​​the rest of the dollars have followed. 

As the end of polio nears, my opinion is that this is not the time to lessen our efforts or to discontinue strategies and approaches that are working.  It is time to be transparent with all that we do and to unite as Rotarians in completing our 30 year goal of eradicating polio.

Thank you for reading this and for your Rotary service. 

Best regards,


Michael K. McGovern

Rotary Foundation Trustee 2012-2016

Rotary International PolioPlus Committee Chair