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The Highest-Paid CEOs of Poorly Rated Charities

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- To give is to receive, and it's fair to say that donors who give to charitable organizations are interested in what the leaders of those organizations receive.

Nobody would be surprised that charities work in many ways similar to corporations and share a need to attract top leadership in whatever way they can. An experienced and well-connected CEO can bring good management and wealthy contributors, but for a price.

To give is to receive, at least for these 10 charity CEOs who collect huge salaries from questionable charities.

Last year we looked at the charity CEOs who take in the most cash overall and found a mixed bag of organizations of varying quality. This time, with the help of leading charity-rating organization CharityNavigator.org, we limit the pool to charities with two-star ratings or below (out of four) that pay their dear leaders more than a half-million dollars annually.

Here we look at the top 10 CEO salaries to give donors an idea of where at least some of their charitable dollars are going.

10. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Executive vice president: Ralph W. Hale
Salary: $570,008
CharityNavigator score: 42.91
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is one of the oldest associations of medical professionals dealing with women's health, and while it was a four-star charity in the early 2000s, it has earned two or fewer stars in seven of the past eight years. The group's low rating is partially due to administrative expenses of 38.7%, and the chief executive's salary accounted for an extra 1.07% of the group's $45 million of revenue in 2009.

9. RAND Corporation
CEO: James A. Thomson
Salary: $592,707
CharityNavigator score: 49.75
The RAND Corporation is without doubt one of the most influential policy institutes in the U.S., and the California-based organization's size (it employs 1,700 people in 50 countries) surely makes it a handful to manage. While CEO James A. Thomson collects a salary that's among the top 10 on this list, RAND's $260 million-plus revenue means it makes up only 0.22% of the total. The charity gets a two-star rating from CharityNavigator, in part for its lack of independently audited financial filings, and its score is well below the average in the research and public policy category.

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