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The Abstinence Gluttons | The Nation

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The Abstinence Gluttons

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With all this campaign largesse, Raymond Ruddy's sights were never set just on channeling government contracts to Maximus. He was also pulling strings to advance his ideological agenda--and the small circle of Christian-right groups he most trusted to deliver on it. The Virginia-based Institute for Youth Development and the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MISH) in Texas have long been among his favorites: Between 2002 and 2005, Gerard put $716,148 into the Institute for Youth Development (IYD) and more than $1 million into MISH. The two organizations, not coincidentally, are also among the most well-connected Christian-right outfits within HHS.

Research support was provided by the Investigative Fund of The Nation Institute.

About the Author

Michael Reynolds
Michael Reynolds's book Bad Faith, on politics, money and the religious right, is due out from St. Martin's in 2008.

MISH was founded in 1992 by Joe McIlhaney, a medical doctor and religiously motivated abstinence advocate who served as Bush's health adviser when he was governor of Texas. During that time McIlhaney toured the state on the Texas taxpayers' dime with a slide show featuring bogus data and gross-out images of sexually transmitted infections as "proof" that condoms were ineffective in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. In 2002 Bush appointed McIlhaney to his Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS and then as an adviser to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The IYD, which provides training to abstinence-only groups, crisis pregnancy centers, "healthy marriage" programs and other Bible-based ministries in how to snare government grants, is even more connected than McIlhaney. Wade Horn served on IYD's board of directors until he became ACF head in 2001 and remains on the editorial board of the organization's journal, Adolescent and Family Health. Alma Golden was editor in chief of the publication before being named deputy assistant HHS secretary for population affairs in 2002. Patricia Ware, once educational policy director at the organization, was tapped by Bush as executive director of his AIDS advisory council--on which IYD's vice president, Anita Smith, just happened to sit. (Smith later became the council's co-chair.) To put icing on the cake, IYD's chief subcontractor, Performance Results Inc., in Gaithersburg, Maryland, is run by Claudia Horn, Wade's wife.

Another Ruddy favorite is A Woman's Concern, into which Gerard poured another $1 million, accounting for a quarter of all donations to the Boston-area network of crisis pregnancy centers. Last fall, Bush named A Woman's Concern medical director Eric Keroack to replace Alma Golden at HHS, where the anti-contraception OB/GYN would oversee $283 million in annual grants to reproductive health and adolescent pregnancy programs. (Five months after his appointment, Keroack resigned, facing a Medicaid investigation.)

Over the past four years, Ruddy has dropped more than $700,000 into Heritage Community Services, a South Carolina network of crisis pregnancy centers that provide abstinence-only programs, making him the group's largest private donor.

With Barbour's and Derderian's firms greasing the wheels, Ruddy turned the federal government into a veritable matching fund for his grantees. For example, since Gerard was founded, in 2001, A Woman's Concern has received $1.5 million in federal grants for its abstinence-only program. Between 2002 and 2005, $9 million in federal grants went to Heritage Community Services. During this same period, MISH landed $1.5 million in federal grants and contracts. But of all Ruddy's favored abstinence-only groups, the IYD appears to have been the biggest federal beneficiary. In 2000 IYD had revenues of $270,000, $80,000 of that in government grants. Three years later IYD pulled in $4.1 million, nearly all--$3.8 million--coming in federal grants. Since Bush took office, IYD has received at least $11 million through HHS alone. Its partner organization, the Children's AIDS Fund, run by Anita Smith, has received at least $4 million from Bush's global AIDS initiative for faith-based abstinence programs in Uganda and Malawi--with more millions set to follow. In 2004 an expert panel for USAID rejected the Children's AIDS Fund grant application as "not suitable for funding," but the committee was swiftly overruled by USAID head Andrew Natsios, who ordered the grant be made to the Bush-connected Smith.

In many cases this federal money seemed to flow not just to conservative organizations but to line the pockets of social conservatives themselves. Claudia Horn, through her firm Performance Results Inc., collects $1,551 per day for training groups in program and curriculum evaluation. According to its federal filing, PRI's 2005 sales to state and local governments were $1.1 million, with an additional $250,000 coming from the Feds, including such clients as the Department of Justice, the Office of Personnel Management, and Housing and Urban Development. But Claudia Horn's indirect public receipts are likely even higher, as her-private sector clients include IYD and the National Fatherhood Initiative (once headed by her husband, Wade), each of which is heavily funded through federal grants.

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