That may not be good news for conservative-minded Catholics, however, given a significant fact about the USCCB. Except on matters of sex and abortion, the USCCB generally hews to the liberal line on public policy matters. Numerous commentators point to the bishops' pastoral letter and other teachings on the economy, and their support for universal healthcare, for instance, as proof the USCCB is virtually the religious arm of the radical left of the Democratic Party. That is true particularly on immigration.
But other prominent evangelical organizations, generally regarded as more conservative than the bishops, are among the top nine names in Pew's list.
No. 2 Religious Group
According to Pew, the USCCB is No. 2. on the list of religious groups lobbying in Washington, D.C.
No. 1 is the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, the unofficial lobbying arm of the Israeli government that targets politicians who don’t toe Israel’s line on what U.S. policy should be in the Middle East. AIPAC spent $87.9 million.
Next up were the bishops, who spent $26.6 million.
The conservative Family Research Council followed with $14.3 million and the American Jewish Committee with $13.4 million. Concerned Women for America spent $12.6 million fighting feminism, abortion, and other social issues. Bread for the World spent $11.4 million.
Combined, FRC and CWA spent $26.9 million.
The Bishops on Immigration, Leftist Causes
Mere figures from Pew don't offer much of a complete picture of how the bishops spend their money and on what causes, whether in Washington, D.C. or anywhere else.
Open borders and lax immigration enforcement is a key USCCB cause, for instance. The bishops’ financial report for 2009-2010 shows their refugee program receiving $127.6 million in taxpayer subsidies to help “refugees” move into neighborhoods with no input from the neighbors.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an Alinskyite organization with ties to the crooked group ACORN, whose funding the bishops were forced to cut off in 2008, had at least $83 million in assets for the two years. In the decade before the bishops cut off the organization, CCHD gave ACORN $7.3 million, leftist watcher Matthew Vadum reported in Human Events. That money came from Catholic parishioners unaware of CCHD's leftist connections.
CCHD indirectly subsidized the political career of one Barack Obama. Indeed, the pro-abortion community-organizer paid tribute to CCHD in an interview with Catholic Digest, Vadum recalled in Human Events. Said Obama, “I got my start as a community organizer working with mostly Catholic parishes on the Southside of Chicago that were struggling because the steel plants had closed. The Campaign for Human Development helped fund the project and so, very early on, my career was intertwined with the belief in social justice that is so strong in the Church.”
Unsurprisingly, CCHD is target of a reform campaign led by Catholics opposed to its leftist policies. CCHD still promotes contraception and abortion, via grants to radical leftist organizations, despite the unwelcome publicity it received after the fiasco that brought down ACORN. Reform CCHD sponsors a online petition asking the bishops to stop all CCHD contributions until they gain control of the leftist organization.
Photo of meeting of United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: AP Images