A taxpayer-funded Pennsylvania-based “crisis pregnancy center” chain called Real Alternatives has been misusing state funds for decades, according to the Pennsylvania Office of the Auditor General.
“It is outrageous that, by its own admission in court, Real Alternatives used hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars to fund its activities in other states,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said in a statement.
In March, the organization sued in order to stop an audit of their finances.
The recently published 24-page performance audit revealed that between fiscal years 2012/13 and 2014/15 alone, Real Alternatives collected $497,368 from subcontractors through a 3 percent fee that the organization admitted was collected to promote their business outside of the state, rather than provide direct services for Pennsylvania women. According to DePasquale, they have been doing this since 1997, making the total much higher.
“We will never know how much money was taken out of the Commonwealth nor how many Pennsylvania women and children may have been affected because this company channeled our tax dollars to other states,” DePasquale said. “But, we need to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again.”
DePasquale said the state intends to recover the misspent funds.
Pennsylvania was the first state to fund crisis pregnancy centers with taxpayer money. Today, we are one a handful that diverts funds from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families fund to do it.
Real Alternatives is no stranger to controversy in Pennsylvania.
In addition to suing to block the state’s assessment of how they are spending state funds, the organization sued seeking an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate. In August, a federal judge ruled against them.
Pennsylvania’s five-year $30.2 million dollar state grant for Real Alternatives was set to expire this summer, but was extended to September 30.
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