Cheryl Sullenger

Complaints filed against Wichita abortion clinic owner over missing $37,000 in PAC contributions

Cheryl Sullenger
By Cheryl Sullenger

An Operation Rescue Special Report
Co-authored with Deborah Myers

Wichita, KS, July 30, 2013 (OperationRescue.org) – Operation Rescue has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and the Kansas Bureau of Investigations (KBI) against Trust Women PAC demanding a full investigation of the political action committee that appears to be partially funding a “for-profit” abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas. The complaint lists eight classes of violations of the Federal Campaign Election Laws and Commission Regulations. It also documents possible criminal conduct.

Operation Rescue staff poured over volumes of Trust Women PAC filings and discovered that from July 2011 to present, not one report has been acceptably filed. The FEC has issued 12 separate Requests for Additional Information (RFAI) letters to Trust Women PAC in regard to errors, inconsistencies, and failure to file.

In fact, documentation shows that Trust Women’s bookkeeping is so shoddy that it has thus far resulted in FEC fines totaling $4,268, not counting steep fees imposed for collection attempts.

Over $37,000 vanishes

But perhaps most troubling is the discovery that at least $37,118 of PAC money has simply vanished without a trace. In addition, there is at least $72,000 more – a quarter of all contributions made to the Trust Women PAC since 2011 – for which there has been no proper accounting.

Operation Rescue is demanding full investigations to determine if financial crimes, such as embezzlement and/or money laundering, have occurred.

PAC money pays for abortion business expenses

Trust Women PAC is operated by Julie Burkhart, who is also the Executive Director of South Wind Women’s Center (SWWC), a new abortion clinic located in the building that was once owned by late-term abortionist George Tiller. Burkhart employs two fly-in abortionists, Cheryl Chastine of Chicago, Illinois, and Valencia Stevens of Arizona. Burkhart has used PAC funds to pay operating expenses for her abortion business. She has also used employees on the payroll of the PAC to staff her abortion clinic.

There is no record that the SWWC has ever reimbursed the Trust Women PAC even one cent of the money it spent to operate the for-profit business. One has to wonder how much Chastine and Stephens know about the Wichita abortion business’ shoddy bookkeeping.

“It looks like Burkhart might be ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul,’” said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue. “If her abortion business was profitable, surely she would not have to dip into PAC funds to pay for abortion clinic business expenditures. This is an indication that South Wind Women’s Center is on the ropes financially with the blame falling on Burhart’s mismanagement.”

Eight Categories of Violations

The alleged violations contained in the complaint include:

1. Failure to report contributions to Federal Candidates/Committees and Other Political Committees in a proper manner
2. Failure to classify disbursements in a proper manner
3. Failure to file a single acceptable report since July 2011
4. Consistent error in calculation and reporting of cash on hand and disbursements
5. Engaging in political advocacy within the state of Kansas without registering with the state
6. Submission of reports through a non-authorized treasurer
7. Use of PAC funds and resources to operate a for-profit business (South Wind Women’s Center abortion clinic in Wichita, Kansas)
8. Disbursements of funds to non-existent entities sharing the Trust Women PAC address.

“Is this gross incompetence on the part of Burkhart, or is it criminal conduct? We think it is the latter, and that’s why we are asking for a full investigation into financial malfeasance,” said Newman.

Money flows one way

Burkhart has used PAC funds to pay for items for the abortion clinic such as a washer and dryer. That expenditure was listed as a disbursement for the Primary 2012 election cycle, which ended seven months prior to the purchase.

The Trust Women PAC also paid for SWWC’s web hosting, internet marketing, and even robes for use by the abortion business. SWWC’s abortion consent forms are sent to potential customers via a Trust Women PAC e-mail address belonging to a PAC paid employee, Katie Knutter.

“Money only flows one way: from the Trust Women PAC into the coffers of South Wind Women’s Center. Profits from South Wind are pocketed by private individuals. It is all very irregular,” said Newman.

Where did the money go?

But there are literally thousands of Trust Women PAC dollars for which there is no accounting. In the Trust Women PAC filings, it is common for the beginning balance for one reporting period to be several thousand dollars less than the ending balance for the previous reporting period. In all, Operation Rescue has discovered that $37,118.13 has simply disappeared.

There are questions that must be answered. Is this a matter of incompetent accounting or unlawful activity? The shoddy FEC reports raise suspicions that South West Women’s Center could be acting as a money laundering scheme for PAC employees through which they embezzle funds, without suspicion of malfeasance.

“We have to wonder what happened to all that cash. One day the money is there and the next day it’s gone,” said Newman. “If someone is pocketing the money, it could be embezzlement, which is a serious crime. We are turning all the evidence over to the FEC, FBI, and Kansas Bureau of Investigation for further inspection to determine if laws have indeed been broken.”

Unauthorized to file

Part of the problem is that Burkhart associate Amber Lockner has attempted to file reports on behalf of Trust Women PAC, but none have been accepted since Lockner is not the treasurer of record and has no authority to file. Burkhart made attempts to file Amended Statements of Organization, but all have been rejected due to the fact that Burkhart and Lockner did not submit the statements electronically, as required. In fact, the two appear not to have mastered the electronic submission process, resulting in reports that have been repeatedly rejected by the FEC.

Shadowy political groups get funds

Documents show that Trust Women PAC spent thousands of dollars on political mailings and GOTV calls in Wichita, as well as a contribution to the Kansas Senate campaign of leftist Tim Snow. These expenditures would constitute illegal campaign activity since Trust Women PAC never registered with the State of Kansas as required by law.

However, that is not the only thing suspicious about Trust Women PAC’s illicit involvement in Kansas politics.

In the 2012 year-end report, Trust Women PAC lists a disbursement to American Action League for $2,000 for GOTV calls. The address listed as belonging to American Action League is the same as that used by Trust Women PAC. However, there is no business called “American Action League” registered with the Kansas Secretary of State. Where did the $2,000 really go?

Another disbursement entry found in the same report indicated that Trust Women PAC paid $9,750 to an entity called “Trust Women PAC (Non-Federal)” for more GOTV calls. However, no such committee exists. The Trust Women PAC is not registered as a “non-federal” entity. This represents yet another block of cash that appears to have gone to a non-existent entity for which there is no accounting.

Modus Operandi

This is a documented pattern of behavior for Burkhart. In 2006, during the hotly contested race for office of Attorney General between incumbent Republican Phill Kline and Democratic challenger Paul Morrison, Burkhart was the director of a political action committee founded and funded by late-term abortionist George Tiller called “ProKanDo.” It was no secret that ProKanDo opposed abortion clinic investigations underway in Kline’s office, especially since Tiller was a target. The election was influenced by a glut of mailings worth about $1 million attacking Kline that were put out by a “non-profit” organization called, “Kansans for Consumer Privacy Protection.” Soon after the election, which Kline lost, the “non-profit” organization closed down, ending efforts to investigate it for improper political activity.

Burkhart was listed as a co-chair for Kansans for Consumer Privacy Protection, which shared the same address as Burkhart’s ProKanDo.

The entire matter of Burkhart’s unregistered political organizations operating in the shadows of unaccountability – funded by other Burkhart groups – is completely irregular. In order to protect the integrity of elections, a thorough investigation into this shady practice must be conducted.

Who gave and who received?

Another apparent violation discovered in the volumes of FEC reports is the failure to itemize many political contributions and disbursements. This means that thousands of dollars from unknown sources are flowing in and out of the PAC to unknown pockets for unknown reasons. In the past two years, over $72,000 in receipts were non-itemized – more than half of all PAC contributions! This amount is in addition to the funds that simply went missing.

“The reason that PACs must file detailed financial reports with the FEC is to ensure that illegal contributions are not taking place and that the money is being used legitimately,” said Newman. “It appears very much like regulations are in fact being broken by Burkhart and Lockner on a routine basis.”

Competency in question

The incompetence – and perhaps criminality – reflected in the Trust Women PAC reports also raises serious questions about the competency of Burkhart to operate an abortion clinic, where women entrust their lives and health. However, given Burkhart’s PAC filings and her history of double-dealing, it is difficult to put much trust in any endeavor in which she is involved.

It has become apparent that South Wind Women’s Center is financially “under water” and must access PAC funds to stay afloat. In fact, Burkhart is delinquent $2,900 in property taxes for the clinic facility – another indication that Burkhart’s PAC and abortion clinic are suffering financial difficulties.

“If these people cannot figure out how to properly add and subtract, file a form online, or pay their bills, we question their overall competency in every other business matter,” said Newman. “The shoddy reports are a red flag alerting us that their incompetence is likely a systemic problem. If that is found to be true, women are in grave danger at South Wind Women’s Center.”

Read the letter of complaint (with links to referenced documents)
Read the 434 pages of Documentation

Support hard-hitting pro-life and pro-family journalism.

Donate to LifeSite's fall campaign today


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

, ,

Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry
By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

Share this article

Advertisement
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben
By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

,

Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
Image
New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook