Watchdog Applauds Michigan Governor for Terminating Contract with Anti-Choice Group Following CfA’s Complaints
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 1, 2019
Contact: Bryan Dewan, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a line-item veto to terminate state funding for Real Alternatives (RA), an anti-abortion nonprofit organization that misused taxpayer dollars and failed to provide promised health services. RA will no longer receive state funding to run the Michigan Parenting and Pregnancy Support Program (MPPSP).
Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, previously called on Michigan government officials to investigate and terminate the state’s contract with RA. CfA applauds Governor Whitmer’s decision to veto funding for RA.
CfA Counsel Alice Huling stated, “Scarce taxpayer resources shouldn’t be awarded to organizations more focused on ideology than delivering healthcare. Further, Real Alternatives was plagued by mismanagement and appears to have improperly skimmed stated funds. Governor Whitmer made the right call for Michigan women.”
Today, CfA is also releasing new documents, obtained via open records requests, further highlighting RA’s mismanagement of Michigan’s alternatives to abortion program.
CfA’s Complaints Against Real Alternatives
On January 14, 2019, CfA filed a complaint with Governor Whitmer, as well as Attorney General Dana Nessel and Auditor General Doug Ringler, alleging that RA had grossly mismanaged the MPPSP by failing to meet its own stated program goals and misallocating MPPSP funds. Further, it appeared that RA was skimming state funds by withholding 3 percent of the MPPSP funding intended for subcontractors for its own private, unspecified use.
On September 5, 2019, CfA renewed its complaint. CfA cited new evidence that RA was diverting taxpayer funds, designated for healthcare services, to its own bank account, in apparent violation of RA’s contract with the state.
New Documents Highlighting Continued Mismanagement
The documents CfA is releasing today highlight RA’s continued failure to properly administer the MPPSP and reveal an attempt to insert contract language that had not been approved. The documents also show RA’s president and CEO, Kevin Bagatta, collected a significantly higher salary than the budgeted amount. The documents also show RA repeatedly complained about and tried to discredit its critics.
Huling continued, “Real Alternatives was given six years to run Michigan’s alternatives to abortion program but was never successful and delivered services to remarkably few women for the amount of taxpayer money spent. Other states in which Real Alternatives operates, like Indiana and Pennsylvania, should follow Michigan’s lead and zero out funding for this useless organization.”
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.