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April 03, 2015

ACLU Lays Off 7 Percent of Staff as Budget Gap Persists

The American Civil Liberties Union this week laid off 23 employees, about 7 percent of its national staff, amid a round of cost-cutting to tackle persistent multimillion-dollar deficits, The Washington Post writes. Along with axing staff at ACLU offices in New York, California, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C., the nonprofit advocacy group recently eliminated 10 national staff positions, postponed a national conference, and raised employee contributions for health coverage.

In a March 26 email to the staff, which was obtained by the Post, the ACLU’s executive director, Anthony Romero, said the group’s budget gap has averaged $15 million annually over the last five fiscal years, forcing the organization to dip into its reserves. He wrote that a major donor stopped contributing $22 million a year in 2009, creating a “substantial shortfall in funding.” The ACLU received a $50 million gift in November from the billionaire investor George Soros’s Open Society Foundations for programs aimed at reducing states’ incarceration rates.