April 10, 2006

Update on the Christian Coalition

Once a powerhouse political lobbying organization, the Christian Coalition is experiencing some very troubling times these days. This is the group co-founded by Ralph Reed, the subject of my post yesterday, and the now infamous Pat Robertson.

According to this Washington Post article via MSNBC, the "once-mighty" Christian Coalition is now $2 million in debt and dealing with lawsuits from creditors. I guess the current leadership didn't go to all of those Christain seminars about how the Godly way of financial management is not to dig a deep hole of debt.

Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that some of the local chapters, the true grass-roots strength of the Christian Coalition in previous years, are distancing themselves from the organization. The Iowa chapter has completely cut its ties and renamed itself the "Iowa Christian Alliance."

Stephen L. Scheffler, The Iowa affiliate president since 2000, told the Post "The credibility is just not there like it once was.....There's a trail of debt....our board believes any Christian organization has an obligation to pay its debts in a timely fashion."

I don't recall reading about Jesus running up a large Visa card bill during His time on earth, which, since he knew when he was going to ascend to heaven, would have made sense--enjoy the benefits then let somebody else pick up the tab. If anybody could have pulled that off, it would have been Him.

Fortunately, the examples of His ministry show the complete opposite approach as being acceptable. If the Christain Coalition is going to linger and not have the decency to just go away, couldn't they at least change the name and take Christ out of it--at least that would be more representative of the orgainzation's actions.

6 comments:

  1. Surprise surprise... an organization manipulates, uses, and lies to people long enough, those people finally realize what is happening and remove themselves (and their financial support) from said organization. Seems like a no-brainer to me. They got what was coming to them.

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  2. I'm reminded of a bumper sticker I saw on the car of a Jewish co-worker many years ago. It read:

    The Moral Majority is Neither

    Perhaps we need to update that now:

    The Religious Right is Neither

    Oh, well.

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  3. Bill,

    I remember that bumper sticker well and like your idea for a new one. I'd be surprised if it isn't already being made.

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  4. @Bill Ware

    Bumper sticker wisdom is great. So much said with so few words. I would SOOOOO put that bumper sticker on my car, but in this town.... that would probably get my car vandalized. Oh well :)

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  5. The Iowa Chapter of the Christian Coalition has broken away from the national Christian Coalition.


    The Iowa Christian Coalition announced on March 7, 2006:

    "After the national organization found itself riddled with lawsuits and unpaid bills, when the leadership appeared to be more interested in "looking good" than "being good," your board members decided that in order to uphold their personal integrity and to stand firm in the face of the Lord, that the ties needed to be severed."

    And:
    "It appeared to the board of Christian Coalition of Iowa, that the focus was no longer on our ultimate service, that of our Lord, but on those things of this world. When the focus of a Christian organization becomes blurred, the organization is doomed."

    And: "...the past few years had been mired with dissent and distrust. Promises made were not kept and when confronted the
    typical response was to threaten."

    (YES, the national often THREATENED the Chapters, Iowa's statement says.)

    http://www.iowachristian.com/news/christian%20coalition%20of%20iowa%20announces%20name%20change%20.htm


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



    http://www.radioiowa.com/gestalt/go.cfm?objectid=6587E9D3-CB52-4E96-9A90C6044BFCC4C6&dbtranslator=local.cfm

    http://www.tbo.com/news/nationworld/MGBZ5U4S8LE.html

    http://www.gwu.edu/~action/2008/iaphotos06/huckiach030606.html




    http://www.iowachristian.com/press/030706.htm

    Scheffler Statement on Name Change

    Today Christian Coalition of Iowa announces a major change, the change of its name.

    From this time forward, we will be known as Iowa Christian Alliance.

    We are honored to be serving the Lord in a conscious effort to develop the integrity and leadership needed to guide our fellow citizens toward the traditional values on which our national strength and survival epends. We will only be of service to our Lord and our fellow and if we uphold standards of moral integrity.

    Due to certain situations that have happened with the National Christian Coalition organization, the board members of this organization, found it impossible to continue to carry a name that in any way associated us with this national organization.

    We fully anticipate that there will be a time of adjustment. The board felt that this was a prudent decision and would rather function as an independent organization than as an organization shrouded with perceptions contrary to its Christian commitments.

    The Iowa Christian Alliance will carry the same board, the same staff, and the same mission statement as its predecessor. We know this may present challenges in the short term, however, we believe our faithfulness will be rewarded in the long term.

    We therefore covet your continued prayers as well as your volunteer and financial support. We hope that you will continue to remember this organization in those quiet,
    personal times between you and your Lord.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and thank you from the board of Iowa Christian Alliance.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    And further:
    http://www.iowachristian.com/news/christian%20coalition%20of%20iowa%20announces%20name%20change%20.htm


    A name change is not easy. It is not done without a great deal of thought, counsel and prayer. The board met several times. The members discussed the merit and the downside of a name change, but when the day ended, it was obvious that Christian Coalition of Iowa was to no longer subsist in the
    form in which it had for so long existed.

    For years, the board of Christian Coalition of Iowa struggled with its “parent” organization, Christian Coalition of America. For years the national organization
    reigned as the country’s premiere conservative organization, leading the fight against those who would tear down our Judeo Christian values. Although in the early years, the national organization was a GREAT help, assisting us with
    financial support and political savvy, the past few years had been mired with dissent and distrust. Promises made were not kept and when confronted the typical response was to threaten.

    It seems that the eyes of the national organization lost focus. It appeared to the board of Christian Coalition of Iowa, that the focus was no longer on our ultimate service, that of our Lord, but on those things of this world. When the focus of a Christian organization becomes blurred, the organization is doomed.

    After the national organization found itself riddled with lawsuits and unpaid bills, when the leadership appeared to be more interested in “looking good” than “being good,” your board members decided that in order to uphold their personal integrity and to stand firm in the face of the Lord, that the ties needed to be severed.

    So on March 6, 2006 with sadness and with anticipation, with hope and renewed strength, President Steve Scheffler read the following statement to the 400-500 supporters gathered at the Spring Legislative Kick-Off held at Des Moines Christian School.

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  6. On February 16, 2006, The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. doctored and falsified previously-filed Lobbying Reports in the office of the Secretary of the Senate, clumsily erasing the name of Mr. Tracy Ammons as one of the lobbyists who lobbied on behalf of The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. as Chief Senate Lobbyist.

    Both versions of the Lobbying Reports for 2002 and 2003 are simultaneously showing on the Secretary of the Senate’s website (at least as of this writing), clearly showing that the reports have been intentionally doctored and falsified by The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. to remove Mr. Tracy Ammons’ name. I would have to imagine that the Christian Coalition erroneously thought that the original version would not show up if a new version was filed, but the clumsy doctoring of information is clearly evident by comparing the two reports.

    These can be clearly seen at: http://sopr.senate.gov

    Comparing the original and amended Lobbying Reports (assuming the Secretary does not change them) clearly demonstrates that The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. has violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 and perhaps other laws.

    There is an enormous amount of evidence on the falsehood of the Christian Coalition’s lobbying disclosure act reports. Please contact me if you would like the abundant documentation and evidence we have. Advise me if you would like to know more.

    You may recall that President Bill Clinton was impeached on the theory that his false statements in a deposition in the Paula Jones lawsuit threatened the integrity of the legal system because those statements were intended to derail a pending lawsuit. It was considered so important that we protect the integrity of lawsuits, that the Congress had to impeach a sitting President to protect the rights of plaintiffs to proceed in court without falsification of evidence.

    Now, The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. has done exactly the same thing, filing false reports with the government in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001, in order to derail a lawsuit by a former employee seeking to get paid his salary for 21 months of work. They have attempted (clumsily) to falsify evidence in order to cheat a former employee out of $130,000 of unpaid, but earned, salary.

    On November 1, 2001, Mr. Tracy Ammons began as Chief Senate Lobbyist for The Christian Coalition of America, Inc.

    For the second half of 2001, both halves of 2002, and the first half of 2003, The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. filed Lobbying Reports reporting Mr. Tracy Ammons as a lobbyist lobbying extensively on its behalf.

    Although the dispute concerns whether Mr. Ammons was to be paid “through” Millennium Consulting LLC or directly from The Christian Coalition of America, Inc., it is not remotely in dispute that he was lobbying on behalf of The Christian Coalition of America, Inc., irrespective of who his paycheck should have come from.

    The Christian Coalition issued business cards to Mr. Tracy Ammons with the title “legislative associate” – the same title under which he is identified in the original 2002 and 2003 Lobbying Reports filed with the Secretary of the Senate.

    Dozens of documents demonstrate that Mr. Tracy Ammons was lobbying in 2002 and 2003 on behalf of The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. Hundreds of witnesses in the U.S. Congress and among other lobbying organizations know and can testify that Mr. Tracy Ammons was actively lobbying in 2002 and 2003 on behalf of The Christian Coalition of America, Inc.

    Mr. Ammons spent around 75% of his time lobbying in the U.S. Congress on behalf of The Christian Coalition of America, Inc., engaged in hundreds of lobbying contacts, and The Christian Coalition of America, Inc. spent more than $20,000 lobbying in Congress.

    Mr. Ammons was never paid most of his salary. Therefore, in 2004, he filed a lawsuit for the collection of $130,000 in unpaid salary from these lobbying activities.

    SO, THE DOCTORING OF THE LOBBYING REPORTS IS AN ATTEMPT TO DESTROY EVIDENCE and defraud a judicial proceeding. The case has been referred from court to the American Arbitration Association, and the destruction of evidence by doctoring official documents filed with the government is an attempt to defraud and deceive the tribunal deciding Mr. Ammons’ claim.

    18 U.S.C. § 1001 provides:

    (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the executive, legislative, or judicial branch of the Government of the United States, knowingly and willfully—
    (1) falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact;
    (2) makes any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or
    (3) makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry;
    shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
    (b) Subsection (a) does not apply to a party to a judicial proceeding, or that party’s counsel, for statements, representations, writings or documents submitted by such party or counsel to a judge or magistrate in that proceeding.
    (c) With respect to any matter within the jurisdiction of the legislative branch, subsection (a) shall apply only to—
    (1) administrative matters, including a claim for payment, a matter related to the procurement of property or services, personnel or employment practices, or support services, or a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch; or
    (2) any investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

    The filing of Lobbying Reports is “a document required by law, rule, or regulation to be submitted to the Congress or any office or officer within the legislative branch…” Lobbying in the U.S. Congress is an activity “within the jurisdiction of the … legislative, … branch of the Government of the United States…”

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