NARAL leader funded lavish lifestyle with organization’s funds, says audit
NEW YORK, February 16, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A former longtime president of NARAL Pro-Choice New York is at the center of a major financial scandal, after the discovery that she appeared to have used the non-profit’s funds to fund a lavish personal lifestyle.
YNN’s Capitol Tonight reports that they have acquired an exclusive copy of a forensic audit conducted for NARAL Pro Choice New York that shows Kelli Conlin appropriated hundreds of thousands of the organization’s dollars – since at least 2008 – for what appear to be personal purposes. Conlin has been fired according to an unnamed source.
Conlin was a fixture at NARAL Pro-Choice New York, having led that chapter as president since 1992. Hence, her sudden departure in January 2011 raised questions about the reasons for her leaving.
The Capitol Tonight report says the audit shows Conlin used NARAL’s credit cards to purchase over $5000 in clothing from retailers like Giorgio Armani, a $17,000 summer rental in the Hamptons in 2009, and $22,000 in meals.
The purchases on the company dime also included a $100,000 car service to drop off her children at school in Manhattan’s posh Upper West Side.
Capitol Tonight also reported that Conlin’s paycheck from NARAL totaled $309,000 for 2009 – out of annual budget of $4.5 million. It also says the audit shows that a number of large transactions of money that moved around NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s accounts appear dubious, and may hide other financial improprieties.
Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life, commented that the financial scandal at NARAL Pro-Choice New York “shows just how corrupt pro-abortion groups are,” asserting that the non-profit was deceiving women about its priorities.
“They are not in it to help women, but rather for their own selfish profit.”
The New York Post reports that NARAL Pro-Choice New York’s spokeswoman Mary Alice Carr said that the audit is just “in draft form” and that so far they have not reached any conclusions, or even made a determination based on the information at hand regarding “whether there was any wrongdoing that would require the notification of the legal or regulatory authorities.”
That apparently is not enough for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, who is launching a criminal probe into the organization.
But pro-life Democrat Sen. Ruben Diaz, Sr. has called on the State Attorney General Eric Scheniderman to recuse himself from any investigation, given his many deep connections with Conlin and the New York NARAL chapter. He pointed out that Scheniderman’s father, Irwin, sat on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice New York for a number of years.
“The close, personal and political relationship between Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Kelli Conlin during his campaign for Attorney General makes his entire office suspect of gross conflict-of-interest,” said Diaz, “which would prevent it from properly investigating and prosecuting any wrongdoing by Ms. Conlin and NARAL.”
Diaz opined that the “proper course of action” would be to enlist the U.S. Attorney’s Office as a neutral prosecutor “to investigate and prosecute if appropriate.”