Federal program funnels charity donations to special interest groups
The Combined Federal Campaign
Jan 13, 2009
Some of the nation’s most controversial public policy groups receive checks from Uncle Sam about this time each year, and the relatively little known practice is perfectly legal.
The Combined Federal Campaign, founded in the 1950s to regulate fundraising among federal employees, has long been expanded to allow government workers to give to virtually any nonprofit groups via payroll deduction—even those with overt political engagement or those advocating religious beliefs.
Analysts say that because the initiative raises funds for groups that range from the most liberal to the most conservative politically, both secular and religious, it is not an example of government engagement in partisan favoritism.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, a longtime opponent of religious engagement in government, is one of the program’s recipients.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).