Just in: Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene Pasquale released a statement today announcing that Real Alternatives, a Pennsylvania-based network of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers,” is suing him for conducting an audit of how they are spending taxpayer dollars.
From the statement:
“It is outrageous that a simple request for documents about how nearly $1 million in taxpayer funds was spent is met with a raft of legal action,” DePasquale said referring to Commonwealth Court documents (106 MD 2017) filed yesterday by a Philadelphia law firm representing the Harrisburg-based Real Alternatives.
The audit began in September, 2016. The audit was launched in part in response to a request from the Department of Human Services, because they could not determine how some of the grant money was being used.
“By its own admission in the court documents, Real Alternatives keeps 3 percent of the state grant money it is charged with doling out to a network of abortion alternative providers — that’s $906,000 of taxpayer money for which there is zero accountability,” he said.
Pennsylvania has been using state funds to finance crisis pregnancy centers for two decades. We are also one of a handful of states that divert Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds—safety-net funds for low-income families in need—to fund crisis pregnancy centers.
Currently, Real Alternatives has a five-year $30.2 million dollar grant, set to expire June 30, 2017.
“I am not alleging that the money is being used for illegal activities, but as Pennsylvania’s chief fiscal watchdog I demand to know how and where our tax money is being spent,” DePasquale said in the statement. “Thirty million is a lot of tax dollars, I want to ensure 100 percent of those funds are providing services to pregnant women and their families in Pennsylvania as the grant agreement requires.
“If this attempt to conceal information from the public persists, I will call upon the governor and the General Assembly to immediately terminate the contract with Real Alternatives. With the state facing a $3 billion deficit, any organization that refuses to be held accountable should not receive a single cent of taxpayer funding.”
DePasquale noted that this is the first time he has been sued for conducting an audit.
The Women’s Law Project is the only public interest law center in Pennsylvania devoted to advancing the rights of women and girls.
Sign up for WLP’s Action Alerts here. Stay up to date on issues and policy by subscribing to our blog, following us on twitter and liking us on Facebook.
We are a non-profit organization. Please consider supporting equal rights for women and girls by making a one-time donation or scheduling a monthly contribution.