McCarrick’s Millions

News: Commentary
by Anita Carey  •  •  May 9, 2019   

Billions in federal funding changing hands without transparency

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Former cardinal Theodore McCarrick was known as a money man. It was a well-known fact that McCarrick would give envelopes of cash to his brother bishops and cardinals "to thank them for their work," a former curial official said.

He added, "Where these 'honoraria' came from or what they were for, exactly, was never clear — but many accepted them anyway."

Sources close to the former cardinal confirmed he never drew a salary or pension for his work as a bishop.

One of those sources told CNA, "While he is not without resources, they are modest, in keeping with what one might expect of a parish priest." They added that he has a private income from savings and monthly annuities that he purchased over the years.

The report notes:

Questions remain, however, about the scale and sources of McCarrick's private income. If, as those close to him have indicated, he declined any formal remuneration from the dioceses he led as a bishop, what was the source for any savings he might have, and how did he come to purchase the annuities to give himself a private income in retirement?

In 2001, McCarrick started the Archbishop's Fund, a way for him to fund his personal works of charity and pay for his "miscellaneous expenses." Only after his fall from grace did McCarrick hand over the fund to Cdl. Donald Wuerl, McCarrick's successor to the archdiocese of Washington, D.C.

The archdiocese refused to confirm the balance of the fund or provide any detailed financial information despite media requests from CNA, only saying that the fund had annual audits and "no irregularities were ever noticed."

According to the CNA investigation, McCarrick was on the board of several grant-making organizations that donated to his personal fund. The Loyola Foundation gave the fund between $20,000 and $40,000 annually. McCarrick "specifically designated" the funds and acted as a trustee to allocate "limited discretionary grants" to other non-profits.

Another group that repeatedly granted funds to McCarrick's fund was the GHR Foundation. Sitting on the board of directors is Sr. Carol Keehan, the president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association, who was instrumental in getting Obamacare passed. Keehan worked against the objections of the bishops.

At least nine grants of $25,000 were given to the "former archbishop's fund" from GHR Foundation.

Within days of the news of McCarrick's serial predation broke, he was on a plane to Mobile, Alabama. Church Militant was told by a number of sources that he was spotted in Mobile. It is unclear whether he was there to see the current archbishop of Mobile, Abp. Thomas Rodi, or the former ordinary, Abp. Oscar Lipscomb.

At that time, Abp. Rodi was the chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on National Collections, a committee McCarrick was part of for the better part of the past decade. Archbishop Rodi joined the committee in 2016 as the chairman, despite never having served on it previously. He beat out Bp. Jaime Soto of the diocese of Sacramento who was on the committee since 2011.

Archbishop Rodi is also the chairman of Cross Catholic Outreach, a sister organization to Cross International, with combined assets approaching $400 million annually.

Both Cross Catholic and Cross International give hundreds of millions of dollars of aid annually to the poor in the Caribbean. Tax forms for both organizations fail to describe where the money is coming from and where it is going.

What is clear is that the majority of the money is coming from government grants. The recipient named on those grants is the USCCB.

According to the USCCB's internal audits, they claim to have numerous agreements with the federal government and have been receiving billions in taxpayer money since the 1970s.

Watch the panel discuss the McCarrick-Mobile connection in The Download—McCarrick's Millions.

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