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Tax Filing Triggers Buzz Over Executive’s Pay

The salary of Malcolm Hoenlein, arguably the most influential chief executive of any Jewish representative organization, was the subject of a flurry of discussion this week among communal insiders.

But Hoenlein, the executive vice chairman of the Conference of President of Major American Jewish Organizations, insisted that the fuss was misplaced.

Hoenlein earned $819,939 in the 2004 fiscal year, according to tax papers filed by the organization. That figure would put him at the top of the salary ladder of Jewish organizational executives, hundreds of thousands dollars more than many top officials at other prominent organizations with larger budgets and staffs.

However, Hoenlein said that the figure reflected the vesting of his pension in addition to his annual salary.

Hoenlein’s salary for the 2003 fiscal year was listed as $144,025 in an earlier tax filing.

He said that he hadn’t actually received the $819,939 listed in the 2004 tax filing.

Hoenlein added that the conference’s compensation committee suggested the vesting of the pension. The committee recommended “that I should pay taxes on it,” he said, “so it’s treated as income for tax purposes.”

“We disclose everything,” Hoenlein said. Referring to the IRS form filed by 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, he added, “We filed the 990s on time, and it’s public information.”

The conference, an umbrella organization representing 52 national Jewish organizations, is widely viewed as the Jewish community’s consensus voice on Middle East issues.

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