I just wonder why now...maybe we (Catholic bloggers) have put CCHD in a very embarrassing situation, showing the link between CCHD and ACORN and considering the fact that a number of us have called for a boycott of the CCHD.
According to the Catholic News Service (CNS):
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development suspended funding a nationwide community organizing group after it was disclosed June 2 that nearly $1 million had been embezzled. (My understanding is that it did not come out until July 9, 2008 in the NYTimes. So, what other things have they been made aware of but have not acted on?)
Funding was suspended for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, popularly known as ACORN, because of the financial irregularities, said Ralph McCloud, executive director of CCHD, the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty and social justice program.
"We're not funding them at any level," McCloud told Catholic News Service Oct. 15.
The suspension covers all 40 ACORN affiliates nationwide that had been approved for $1.13 million in grants for the funding cycle that started July 1, 2008. (So, money had been approved, and then stopped.)
McCloud said the suspension came soon after his office learned that ACORN disclosed that Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke, had embezzled nearly $1 million from the organization and its affiliates in 1999 and 2000. Dale Rathke stepped down from his position with the organization in June when the matter became public; no charges were filed against him. Wade Rathke stepped down as the group's lead organizer at the same time but remains chief organizer for ACORN International LLC.
CCHD has hired specialists in forensic accounting to investigate whether any of its grant funding has been misappropriated, McCloud added.
Since revealing its financial troubles, the organization has come under intense scrutiny because of its voter registration practices. (Gee, many of us knew this in the 2004 election...was CCHD asleep at the switch or did they just ignore it.) In several states voter registration forms have been found to include nonexistent or dead people. Some registrants have told elections officials they completed multiple cards at the urging of ACORN canvassers who claimed they would be fired if they did not meet a daily quota for signing up new voters.
McCloud released information showing that CCHD funded more than 320 ACORN projects with grants totaling more than $7.3 million during the last 10 years. He said the community organization also had received funds since early in CCHD's history.
CCHD's Web site reveals the campaign gave about $1.11 million to 40 ACORN affiliates in 2007 and $1.17 million to 45 affiliates in 2006. (I was wrong on the numbers. At least someone corrected me on it.)
Over the years, some of the funds undoubtedly were used for voter registration drives, McCloud said. "It probably was," he told CNS.
"But by the same token, we didn't find any voter registration irregularities, the allegations we are finding now." (As I said, were these guys asleep at the switch?)
First, I congratulate my fellow Catholic bloggers on this. I believe that we put the CCHD in a very embarrassing position.
Second, you notice that this is a suspension. It doesn't mean that the CCHD will not resume it in the future.
Does Mr. McCloud think we are idiots not to realize this? He probably does. Mr. McCloud should be fired ASAP. It is another indication that the CCHD needs to be reformed.
In fact, they should ask for their money back for the last ten years and stop any and all future grants to ACORN.
So, I will continue to call for a boycott of the CCHD until they stop giving to ACORN and secular groups that work against the Church.
I urge you to take up this message too.