January 15, 2020 Press Releases, Themis Project

New Report Documents the Decline of Anti-Choice Group, Concerned Women for America

The conservative nonprofit serves as AstroTurf covering for dark money groups on the Right.


Contact: Bryan Dewan, bdewan@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, released a new report, Fake Feminists for Hire, revealing how the anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ group Concerned Women for America (CWA) has been declining over the past decade, while simultaneously partnering with well-funded dark money groups to amplify conservative causes that appear to be unrelated to its mission.

Click here to download a PDF of the report.

Click here to read the report on CfA’s website.

CfA Counsel Alice Huling said, “Concerned Women for America, once a juggernaut of the conservative movement, appears to have dwindled down into little more than a hired gun, parroting talking points to promote various conservative causes.”

CWA was founded in 1979 by conservative activist Beverly LaHaye to counter the growing feminist political movement of the 1970s. Since its inception, CWA has had an undeniable influence on American public policy. CfA’s report reveals, however, that CWA’s donations and staff have declined steadily. Since 2010, CWA’s annual budget has fallen from $10 million to roughly $5 million. CWA had 35 employees in 2002, but only 24 in 2016. In 2018, the group shuttered its political action committee.

At the same time, CWA appears to have transformed itself into a nonprofit for hire within the conservative movement, providing the suggestion of broad support among American women, especially for causes decried by other women’s rights organizations. During the Obama administration, CWA ran an anti-Obamacare campaign in apparent coordination with the Koch Network. More recently, CWA appears to have received funding from dark-money groups such as the Judicial Crisis Network to support the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, despite credible allegations of sexual assault made against him.

CWA’s finances also are rife with problems. The organization has redirected funds designated for political purposes into its main bank account, has paid salaries to family members of its directors, has directed lucrative contracts to vendors with personal ties to the group, and its top fundraisers are paid substantial percentages of the money they raise. Furthermore, it appears the organization failed to disclose some political spending to the IRS in apparent violation of tax law.

Ms. Huling continued, “CWA is not so much a voice for women but a convenient cover for the conservative movement. Women who want their voices heard in Washington should not be under any illusion that CWA is working for them.”

Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.