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Groups call on The Family Leader in Iowa to return taxpayer funds

Two Iowa groups are calling on The Family Leader to return $2.2 million in federal taxpayer funds it received over a period of years to provide marriage counseling in the wake of reports that portions of the money were used to pay various salaries and organizational expenses.

As reporter Andy Kopsa first noted for The Iowa Independent more than one year ago, the Iowa Family Policy Center, now under the umbrella of The Family Leader organization, received more than $3 million in federal funds for its Marriage Matters programming. Although organizational leaders indicated following The Iowa Independent’s report that they would refuse future money for the program, it was actually several months later that the money was refused, and only recently — following public disclosure of financial documents to the press — it came to light that an overlap existed in use of those taxpayer funds by IFPC.

“Grants from the federal government do come with strings. An organization cannot discriminate in providing a service and the money cannot be used for purposes other than agreed to by the government. Did the Iowa Family Policy Center discriminate against legally married, same-sex couples? Did they use the federal funds for political purposes outside of the scope of the grant? The people of Iowa have a right to know,” stated Connie Ryan Terrell, executive director of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa. “If either occurred, IFPC and The Family Leader are ethically bound to return the funds. We would hope their values would compel them to do so.”

Troy Price, executive director of One Iowa, added, “At the very least, this raises serious questions about whether the Iowa Family Policy Center illegally used taxpayer dollars to fund and support their political efforts. Taxpayers count on any organization which receives public money to use it for its given purpose, not to abuse it to further a political agenda. If the Iowa Family Policy Center has nothing to hide, then they should release their complete financial information and show once and for all how they used these dollars. But if one dollar of this funding was used to help remove the Supreme Court Justices or push their anti-equality political agenda, then they should give our money back, and give it back now.”

One Iowa has launched a petition to demand the IFPC release their detailed records or return the $2.2 million they received.

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