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

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

Share this article

Advertisement
Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
Image

What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

,

New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook