Group May Have Used Federal Funding to Lobby Against Abstinence

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2003   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Group May Have Used Federal Funding to Lobby Against Abstinence

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 18, 2003

Washington, DC ( — The Bush administration is set to launch the third invetigation in a year to determine whether or not Advocates for Youth, a sexual education organziation, used federal dollars to lobby against abstinence-only education.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct the latest review and verify charges of "possible misuse of grant funds for lobbying efforts." The investigation begins today and is expected to last one week.

The reiew follows complaints by pro-life Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and 23 other members of Congress that the group is improperly using federal funds to lobby Congress against abstinence.

Advocates for Youth spokesman Bill Barker says his organization has received federal grants for 15 years and only recently has been investigated — twice by the CDC and once by the General Accounting Office.

"Advocates is concerned that it appears that the selective and political use of these audits is to intimidate organizations such as ours that support comprehensive sex education," Barker said. "They want to impose a kind of censorship."

Barker says the previous reviews found that organization had not misued the funds.

Kathy Harben, spokeswoman for CDC, said the agency is trying to increase the monitoring of all organizations that receive funds. She declined to characterize the reviews as audits.

"We regularly conduct site visits of all our grantees," Harben said.

Derek Karchner, a Pitts spokesman, said the Congressman specifically wants to know whether the organziation has been involved with financing a new web site that opposes abstinence education.

Meanwhile, pro-abortion Rep. Henry Waxman wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson calling the investigations politically motivated.