NOTE: The following information was provided to Catholic Relief Services in person in April, 2018. After three months of discussion on the matter, the Lepanto Institute was told that while Lepanto is convinced that CRS should withdraw from InterAction, CRS disagreed. On at least four occasions, Lepanto offered to include any rationale CRS could provide as to how CRS benefits from membership in InterAction, and how CRS could justify providing money it received from pew-sitting Catholics to an organization that directly uses that money to lobby for the expanded access to abortion and contraception. CRS declined to provide any such rationale, stating instead that the following article does not take into account all aspects of belonging to a group such as InterAction.
The majority of the largest international aid and development agencies are all intertwined, like a big net, so it is not uncommon for an investigation of one part of this net to provide leads for new investigations. While researching the involvement of Catholic organizations in the Sphere Project, the Lepanto Institute discovered three Catholic agencies identified as dues-paying members of an organization that strongly and openly pushes contraception.
InterAction is basically a thinktank and lobbying organization. According to its "about us" page: "InterAction serves as a convener, thought leader and voice of our community. Because we want real, long-term change, we work smarter: We mobilize our members to think and act collectively, because we know more is possible that way."
Members of InterAction pay annual dues which account for between 25–30 percent of its overall operating budget. What that means is that the money provided to InterAction by its Catholic members is 100 percent fungible. In other words, if InterAction is conducting activities which promote intrinsic evils, it is doing so in part with funds coming from faithful Catholics believing their donations are going toward disaster and poverty relief efforts. And since the dues paid to InterAction aren't coming from a grant or project fund, this means that the dues are coming from collections taken from pew-sitting Catholics.
According to InterAction's Dues Policy, annual dues are assessed according to the expenses of the member organization. Catholic Relief Services' latest tax form 990 indicates that its expenses for 2016 and 2017 were $970 million and $979 million respectively, which means that its most recent dues fee was $54,000 each of those years.
According to InterAction's "Benefits" page, members enjoy certain perks by being a dues-paying member of InterAction: "Among these are effective advocacy and representation on their behalf, increased exposure, strong networking and information sharing opportunities, technical and capacity building assistance, plus increased credibility with donors and funders."
While it can be seen that membership in an organization like this might make some things seem easier to do, there is nothing identified on this list of benefits for members that is essential to CRS doing its relief work. In fact, there is nothing on this page which would hinder CRS's relief efforts if it were no longer to be a member of InterAction. But the most interesting thing on this page was this: "InterAction staff help coordinate efforts by members to influence policy and budget priorities in Congress, help provide access to top-level policymakers and provide members with analyses of issues as they impact the humanitarian and development community."
Read the rest at the Lepanto Institute.