Catholic bishops cut all funding to ACORN

Auxiliary Bishop Roger Morin of New Orleans
Auxiliary Bishop Roger Morin of New Orleans

.- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has not yet been able to determine if grants made to ACORN were used for fraudulent voter registration, but has cut off all funding to the community organizing group, Bishop Roger Morin announced on Tuesday.

Shortly after addressing the full assembly of U.S. Catholic bishops, Bishop Morin spoke to reporters about what the bishops had learned concerning the use of grants from the CCHD to the group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is currently under investigation in 13 states for voter fraud.

CCHD originally announced in July 2008 that it was suspending funding to ACORN because of the embezzlement of 1 million dollars by the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Today, however, the Bishop Morin went one step further and announced the cancelation of all funding to the group.

When Bishop Morin was asked by the press why CCHD didn’t cancel funding earlier, given the nearly decade-old accusations of voter fraud, he responded that “there are hundreds of local ACORN affiliates” and then made reference to his estimate that CCHD only had a relationship with 40 to 45 of them.

“It’s a mistake and an erroneous assumption when people equate ACORN activities with something that the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is doing,” Bishop Morin added. 

In an earlier report to the full assembly of bishops, Bishop Morin announced that a forensic audit that was conducted for the bishops found that "our funds were not involved with those that had been embezzled.”

However, speaking at the press conference, he added that “the question I can’t answer, which I think is essential, is whether or not CCHD did make or has ever made a grant or activities to those particular ACORNS [involved in voter fraud].”

“We have not had reports from individual locations where we’ve been involved in a funding relationship that those local authorities were involved [in]. If they were, then funding was cut off,” Bishop Morin said, stressing that CCHD’s ability to discover how its funds were used is hampered by the co-mingling of Catholic dollars with other grants.    

Bishop Morin also pointed out that the forensic audit conducted for the bishops was a fiscal audit that did not look at the activities of the ACORN branches and not their activities.

The press conference then turned to questions about the Freedom of Choice Act and the statement that Cardinal  Francis George will make on Catholics and politics tomorrow.

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