As the US Bishops prepare to pass the basket in the Catholic churches nationwide for their annual domestic poverty collection, one of the program’s leading critics is alleging the program’s director is in a conflict of interest that raises serious concerns.
Several Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grantees are affiliates of Interfaith Worker Justice (IWJ), a worker advocacy group whose leadership is full of individuals who promote abortion and homosexuality, and many who are committed Marxist socialists, according to a report by the Lepanto Institute.
At the same time, Ralph McCloud, CCHD’s director who has oversight of grant distribution, serves on IWJ’s board of directors.
In Fiscal Year 2014-2015, six IWJ affiliates received CCHD grants totaling $280,000, the Lepanto report said.
They include Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center ($50,000), Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa ($45,000), Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha ($70,000), New Labor Education & Training Institute ($40,000), Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York ($50,000), and Workers' Dignity Project ($25,000).
Two of the current IWJ-affiliated grantees received CCHD funds in 2012 as well, and McCloud joined the IWJ board in 2014.
“By joining the board of directors of IWJ, McCloud has created for himself the very definition of a conflict of interest,” Lepanto Institute Founder and President Michael Hichborn said. “And he accepted the role of overseeing distribution of funds to an organization in conflict with the Catholic Church’s teaching.”
Northwest Arkansas Workers' Justice Center is a member of Arkansas Citizens First Congress, which works for homosexuals to be able to adopt or be foster parents, and its board president is a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Democrat party activist.
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha is a member of and on the board of Take Action Minnesota, an organization promoting homosexual “marriage” and birth control.
New Labor Education & Training Institute is a member of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement that advocates for homosexuals in immigration laws and a member of the pro-homosexual National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York produced and distributed guidebooks and conducted focus groups to promote homosexuality, hosted a focus group centered around promotion of homosexuality, and is a member of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual US Human Rights Network. It is a partner with the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual Center for Community Change, a member of the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual New York City Human Rights Initiative, and it participated in the pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, and Marxist US Social Forum.
The Lepanto Institute report also details the problematic make-up behind IWJ.
The group’s executive director, Kim Bobo, received her college degree from the socialist college, The New School for Social Research, is very active with the Democratic Socialists of America, and chaired a Marxist speaker’s panel for The New School.
Bobo’s assistant Eric Boria prepared roundtables for the “Marxist section” of meetings at the American Sociological Association’s annual conferences while a grad student at Loyola University.
IWJ founding board member and Washington D.C. Public Policy Director Paul Sherry advocates strongly for homosexuality, birth control, abortion, and he supported partial-birth abortion. Sherry also took part in “The Left Forum,” a socialist convention.
Joan Flanagan, IWJ’s development director, is a Planned Parenthood supporter, a donor for pro-abortion Chicago Foundation for Women, and former development director for the pro-abortion and pro-homosexual Center for New Community.
McCloud was provided with the facts in 2012, Hichborn said, when he showed him that the leadership of Interfaith Worker Justice is filled with self-professed pro-abortion, pro-homosexual Marxists.
“How can an individual serve the Church while sitting on the board of IWJ, and in fact approve grants for affiliates of this organization?” Hichborn asked. “It seems impossible.”
LifeSiteNews asked the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and Ralph McCloud about McCloud’s service on the board of IWJ and the possibility of a conflict of interest.
In its response, the USCCB defended McCloud’s role with IWJ.
“Ralph McCloud, director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, is a member of the Interfaith Worker Justice Board of Directors, because, consistent with the Catholic Church’s teaching on the dignity of work, he shares IWJ’s mission of engaging the faith community to advance the rights of workers,” the USCCB told LifeSiteNews.
“The Catholic Campaign for Human Development funds the work of independent, separately incorporated grassroots organizations working to overcome exclusion and poverty,” it said. “CCHD does not financially support Interfaith Worker Justice.”
“Many grassroots groups affiliate with Interfaith Worker Justice in order to receive support in their mission to empower workers, as well as to connect and collaborate with other grassroots groups across the country,” the USCCB continued. “This includes many groups supported by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. CCHD supports this type of collaboration among funded groups and with other organizations.”
Hichborn said the USCCB response doesn’t actually address the real problems.
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“The USCCB claim that McCloud's board membership is ok because he shares IWJ's worker's rights agenda is akin to saying that it's ok to join the Communist Party because you share its ideals of worker's right, too,” Hichborn said. “This is an apt analogy because the entire leadership of Interfaith Worker Justice is filled with pro-aborts, pro-homosexuals and ideological Marxists.”
The workers' rights agenda of IWJ is perverted by its Marxist ideologies, he said, and no Catholic has any place as a member, let alone being listed among its leadership.
“CCHD indeed financially supports IWJ because it is funding its affiliates,” continued Hichborn. “To claim otherwise is like claiming that there would be no conflict of interest by being on the board of Planned Parenthood Federation of America and only approving grants to its local affiliates. It's absurd.”
McCloud has turned a blind eye to the malfeasance of IWJ affiliates despite having been provided solid evidence of violation of CCHD grant guidelines, Hichborn said, and it’s worse yet that he's joined the ranks of its board of directors.
Longtime Phoenix attorney John Jakubczyk, founder and president of Southwest Life & Law Center, said that McCloud has the duty to inform the CCHD board of his sitting on the board of another organization and any of its relationships with other organizations that would be in the running for CCHD funds, and that there could very well be a conflict of interest if there are different organizations competing for CCHD funds.
In addition to the specter of an ethical conflict of interest, Jakubczyk said the other conflict he sees is spiritual. As the head of a Catholic organization, McCloud’s duty and job description is not to fund pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups, he said.
“They shouldn’t get a dime,” said Jakubczyk.
The first question is whether the groups getting CCHD funds and others they associate with meet the criteria for receiving Catholic funds, he continued.
“If they are [unfit for Catholic funding], then he shouldn’t be on that board,” Jakubczyk said, and McCloud should make a decision about who and what he is serving.
Hichborn concurred. “Given McCloud's presence on the board of directors of IWJ while approving grants for its affiliates, there's no way for pew-sitting Catholics to know whether he is representing IWJ or maintaining proper stewardship of Catholic funds,” he said. “No one can serve two masters, and since McCloud has doubled down on his membership on IWJ's board, I suppose he's announced with his actions where his alliances are.”
The CCHD collection is due to be taken up in diocesan parishes across the U.S. this weekend.