Family Research Council decries immorality of federal deficit, defends its own budget gap

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 5:38 pm

The focus at conservative Christian policy group Family Research Council this past month has been on fiscal policy — on the federal government’s and on its own. While the $14 trillion federal deficit has been characterized as a moral issue — one caused by irresponsibility and spending addiction — FRC has defended its own $1 million budget gap as necessary to defend its causes.

Last week FRC President Tony Perkins (representing lobbying arm FRC Action, of which he is also the president) and public policy group Let Freedom Ring President Colin Hanna co-hosted a webcast on the U.S. debt crisis. Invited to participate were Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), along with other conservative policy leaders.

“Congress has been using the country’s credit cards like an irresponsible teenager for decades,” read a press release previewing the June 23 Web conference. “But now a band of House and Senate conservatives are fighting to turn back the clock on America’s debt.”

During the 65-minute webcast, DeMint drew the morality analogy even closer.

“We’ve got to stop this spending addiction in Washington,” DeMint said. “And it really is like working with an alcoholic. First of all, they won’t admit they have a problem. And then when they do, they say, ‘We’ll quit tomorrow, but let’s have one more drink today.’”

To which Perkins, a former police officer for the Baton Rouge Police Department in Louisiana (from which he was suspended and then resigned in 1992, according to The Nation), responded, “When I was a police officer, I found one thing that really worked on those drunks that came home at night was a frying pan.”

But 20 days earlier, Perkins sent supporters an e-mail alert, asking for help closing its $1 million budget gap by June 30. He excused the organization’s financial struggle for all the work it has done during recent legislative sessions. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Family Research Council Action’s (FRC’s lobbying arm) total lobbying expenditures in 2010 was $110,000; according to the Federal Election Commission, FRC Action Political Action Committee has spent $43,143 in individual contributions for the 2011-’12 election cycle through May 31.

In his alert Perkins wrote:

Ever since last November’s watershed election, which swept a record number of pro-family conservatives into office, FRC has more friends in Congress than ever before. And the more friends we have on Capitol Hill, the greater our ability to advance your pro-family views. This demand for our expertise is a blessing, but it has outstretched our revenue. As we enter the summer months when giving historically declines, FRC faces a $1 million gap between what we’ve budgeted for our work here in Washington, DC and what we’ve received in donations. I have already made cuts to reduce our costs, and our staff is working tirelessly.

Unless supporters donate, Perkins said, FRC “will be forced to do less for the conservative cause.” Every donation up to $250,000 will be matched by a “generous family,” Perkins said. The family was not named.

FRC did not immediately return requests for comment.

The priorities mentioned during last week’s webcast: Cut the deficit, cap the spending and balance the budget. A coalition of more than 80 organizations recently formed acampaign to convince U.S. Senate and House members and future candidates to pledge to oppose any debt limit increase unless the budget has been cut, capped and balanced. Thus far, the pledge has been signed by 12 senators, 20 representatives and 28 candidates.

Throughout the hour, the United States’ fiscal situation was repeatedly compared to Greece’s, but Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) took the analogy further to draw comparisons to slavery.

“Turn your TV on, and look at what’s been happening in Greece,” Walsh said. “We are at the cusp of that. This is a huge moral issue. How dare we enslave future generations? How dare we do that?”

And later on: “I could give a darn about my reelection. I’m on a mission here to stop my kids, your kids, our grand-kids from becoming indentured servants.”

During the web conference, there was no mention of FRC’s own fiscal situation. And in the June 3 e-mail, in which Perkins was soliciting donations, nothing was mentioned of America’s fiscal situation.

“This is no time to be trimming our sails,” wrote Perkins in the alert. “We have more pro-family conservatives in Congress than ever before. Daily, they look to FRC for the facts they need to stand up for families. I have fresh hope that if we keep working and keep praying, we can change the course of this nation.”

The “key areas” FRC is working on include “shaping historic court cases regarding ObamaCare and religious liberty” and “building a powerful network of informed and motivated pastors across the nation.” But “liberals are fighting back-hard,” Perkins said.

If they sense any weakness, they’ll move in and take back the gains we’ve made. And they’ll thwart our efforts at every turn, pushing their pet causes from taxpayer funding of abortion to normalization of homosexuality to intimidating and punishing Christians who voice their objections. Frankly, some donors are on the sidelines because Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives. Yet the Obama administration simply bypasses the legislative branch and abuses executive power to reshape major policies affecting every family and business.

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