Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

crystal_sugar_80
By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

hermancain_80x80
By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Iowa Family Policy Center didn’t reject federal funds until last month

By Andy Kopsa | 09.22.10 | 8:28 am

Iowa Family Policy Center did not notify government officials that it no longer wanted to receive federal funding until six weeks ago — nearly a year later than it originally told the media the decision was made.

Iowa Family Policy Center President Chuck Hurley.

In April, The Iowa Independent reported the Iowa Family Policy Center had received more than  $3 million in federal funding for a marriage mentoring program. Following the story, the group’s spokesman, Bryan English, told Des Moines Register columnist Rehka Basu that it would no longer accept the funds, saying “the decision [to not take additional funding] was made at a board meeting in September [2009], but just hadn’t been announced yet.” English made a similar statement to Iowa Public Radio.

In early July 2010, a Freedom of Information Act reconsideration addendum was filed by The Iowa Independent specifically requesting proof of relinquishment of federal funds by IFPC. Follow up phone calls to the Administration for Children and Families, the agency responsible for grant oversight, could not confirm the funds had been denied at that time.

Phone calls to English in July and August regarding termination of funding went unanswered. Just last week, the FOIA reconsideration request was finally filled, revealing IFPC did not notify the government they would forgo additional funding until August 10, 2010.

“We believe federal constraints are impeding our progress to help a broader range of couples,” Chuck Hurly, IFPC’s president, wrote in the Aug. 10 letter to the Administration for Children and Families. “We believe organizationally we are in a position to become privately funded.”

Even if the Iowa Family Policy Center made the decision to relinquish funding at their September 2009 board meeting, they had already received the $550,000 award for 2009-2010. According to the Tracking Accountability in Government Grants website, the IFPC received the $550,000 on Sept. 17, 2009.

IFPC leadership has repeatedly denied that federal funds have been used for anything other than the Marriage Matters program, which is not a separate organization but rather a trademark of IFPC. But a representative of the U.S. Healthy Marriage program in Washington, D.C., said earlier this year that even though it isn’t allowed, certain overlap in spending might occur.

It is this potential for overlap that has some concerned, as IFPC is no stranger to political controversy. Earlier this year, it made waves when it announced it would not endorse the Republican Party’s nominee for governor, Terry Branstad, do to his alleged moderate views on social issues like gay marriage. Later, the organization publicly declared that homosexuality was more dangerous to the public health than second-hand smoke. In June, Hurley said religious leaders who supported marriage rights for same-sex couples were “confused at best and blatantly evil at worst.”

And in a press release earlier this month, Hurley denounced politicians who say the GOP should focus on economic issues rather than social issues, saying, “I don’t think it’s coincidental that the origins of the word ‘economic’ relates to household management. We need to understand that we cannot rebuild our national economy if we are actively undermining the stability of the American household by condoning homosexuality.”

The group is also somewhat involved in the campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices due to their decision last year that legalized same-sex marriage.

The Iowa Family Policy Center’s acceptance of federal funds, coupled with a religious political agenda, prompted the ACLU of Iowa to announce it would investigate whether the funding violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Randall Wilson, legal director of the ACLU of Iowa, said in an e-mail that the “investigation is ongoing,” into potential misuse of federal funding by the IFPC.  “I have had an intern chasing information,” in regards to how IFPC’s federal grant was spent and, “we still haven’t been able to receive a full accounting from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.”

A lack of transparency and unresponsiveness within the Administration for Children and Families, a sub agency of the Department of Health and Human Services, appears to be the norm, according to a report earlier this month.

Several calls for comment to IFPC Spokesperson Bryan English were not returned.

Comments

  • bvan

    Money handed out through faith-based initiatives and tax exempt status is being used for political gain. Doesn't this seem wrong to anyone else?

    • rextrek1

      Yes its wrong…and espcially to LGBT Americans who ARE Tax Payers too….this money is going to these American Taliban Types to fight LGBT Tax Payers equality!

  • itserich

    The Iowa Independent in April reported the IFPC rejected the FINAL YEAR of federal funding, which would be 2010 – 2011. That they took the money in 2009 – 2010 is not a surprise is it? The surprise is they did not formally reject the last year until the last minute. Wonder why? Someone should get on that.

    http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs059/1102236947388/archive/1103332642483.html

Switch to our mobile site