The July-August 2003 issue of the AARP Bulletin reports about financial troubles at the antigay Traditional Values Coalition.
According to the article, “Christian Crusaders? Or Not? Fledgling Group Purports to Represent ‘Christian Seniors,'” a new TVC front group called the Christian Seniors Association may represent a latch-ditch effort by conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie to raise money for the TVC.
In fundraising appeals that he says are being mailed to more than 5 million older Americans, [TVC founder Louis] Sheldon portrays his new organization as a “Christian alternative to AARP” and promises anyone who joins it, for dues of $12.95 a year, “benefits that are as good, or better than AARP’s.”
TVC direct-mail letters reportedly say the CSA was formed to counter the AARP’s “far left” agenda. But the AARP article details severe financial difficulties at TVC.
The Bulletin has obtained documents showing that Sheldon’s tax-exempt Traditional Values Coalition ran operating deficits of more than $1 million in both 2000 and 2001 and remains in deep financial trouble.
The organization’s own independent auditor, in a report prepared last year, warned that the recurrent deficits “raise substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.”
The AARP article suggests that it is actually TVC’s costly contract with Viguerie that has pushed the religious-right group “to the brink of insolvency.”
At the end of 2001 the Traditional Values Coalition had nearly $2.5 million in liabilities, including nearly $1.9 million owed to Viguerie’s firm, Amerigan Target Advertising, Inc.
The coalition’s obvious distortions of fact and contortions of civility surrounding the ex-gay culture war suggest to me that fundraising ripoffs aren’t the only means by which the coalition has offended its conservative base of support. Here are recent headlines from TVC:
Kennedy Reintroduces Pro-SheMale, Homosexual Hate Crime Bill
‘Non-judgmental’ AIDS Counseling Is Failure In Seattle
Dutch Study Exposes Infidelity Among Homosexual Partners
‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy Under Attack
Wal-Mart Petition Urges End To Pro-Homosexual Policy
Boston Globe Reveals Its Pro-Sodomy Bias
The TVC apparently isn’t limiting its inaccuracies to the ex-gay culture war.
From The Washington Post via The Agonist comes news yesterday that TVC has been acting as a lobbying puppet of the pharmaceutical industry. In doing so, TVC apparently distorted the facts, smeared the TVC’s pro-life allies, and infuriated Republicans:
A Christian lobbying group [TVC] fighting the proposed importation of low-cost prescription drugs has received behind-the-scenes help from the drug industry, the latest example of pharmaceutical companies trying to influence Congress clandestinely. …
Several Republicans said pharmaceutical companies, through their lobbyists, contacted other conservative groups, including the Christian Coalition, about waging a similar campaign against the reimportation measure. The Traditional Values Coalition was the only taker because several abortion opponents questioned the accuracy of the drug industry’s argument, according to lawmakers and conservative activists. …
House Republicans were so offended by the mailings that they recently barred the TVC and its leader, the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, from attending future meetings of the Values Action Team, an umbrella group of socially conservative Republicans.
Addendum: National Review senior editor Ramesh Ponnuru weighs in today against the TVC’s tactics.