Mysteries and questions continue to surround an Iowa group that campaigned to defeat three state high court justices last fall while receiving a $2.2 million, multi-year federal grant to operate a marriage counseling program.
According to an article by the American Independent online news service, the Iowa Family Policy Center opted to return the last $550,000 of the grant in August 2010, as it was beginning efforts to oust three justices who had joined in a decision permitting same-sex marriage. But the conservative group never completed its paperwork to terminate the grant, or to account for its last year of how it spent the federal money, the Independent said.
As reported last fall, conservative groups spent $990,000 in a successful bid to unseat Chief Justice Marsha Ternus and Justices Michael Streit and David Baker in a retention election. According to the Independent article, the grant helped pay for staff and office space that were used in the “Vote No” campaign.
IFPC officials have declined to comment. Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union Iowa is investigating the matter, but said their requests for further information on the paperwork have not been answered by a Department of Health and Human Services agency that is processing the grant. Another group, OneIowa, which favors same-sex marriage, is demanding that the entire $2.2 million be repaid to the federal government.