The following comes from a November 8 story in the Wanderer.

Catholics who are conservative, either politically or theologically, have been crit­ical of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) for at least 15 years. The criticism, in print and online, though pointed and persistent, has been largely unproductive. Part of the reason for this failure is the limitation of the criticism to doc­trinal matters, principally surrounding abortion, contraception, and homosexu­ality. But, the fundamental problem with the design of the CCHD grants process is ideological….

[On November 6] Californians voted on an initiative prop­osition to raise the sales tax rate for all citizens, and increase the state-income tax rates for upper-income earners. Califor­nia already has the highest sales tax and the second highest income tax in the country. The proposed increases were sig­nificant, perhaps enough to cause some very affluent people to move from the state.

How surprising, then, to find that the California branch of PICO (People Im­proving Communities through Organiz­ing) donated $259,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 30.

In the 2011-2012 grant year, Catholic Campaign for Human Development awarded 12 grants totaling $470,000 to PICO-affiliated organizations in California, more than half of its total California grants. The goodhearted Catholic givers could not realize that Pico California had enough cash that it could donate more than half the amount received from the Campaign to the campaign for Proposition 30, an initiative to which many of the giv­ers were opposed.

This unfortunate situation is made worse by the fact that PICO California’s ally in supporting Proposition 30 was the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment. The Alliance is the suc­cessor to California ACORN. The Unit­ed States Conference of Catholic Bishops stopped funding ACORN in 2008, but the end result of funding PICO affiliates is that the same old activists were em­powered.

Of course, not one in a hundred of the generous people who donated the $470,000 to the PICO groups is aware of this problem, and some will say that the political dollars were not the donated dollars. But the commonsense view is that this problem is another example of the need to fully and forthrightly disclose to Catholic givers the design of the Catholic Campaign grant program.