Colorado Religious Affiliates Get $10 Million in Earmarks: NYT

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Colorado religious groups got $10,090,000 in congressionally earmarked funds between 1997 and 2006, nearly all of it going to the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver.

The Times missed one earmark to a faith-based group, Life Network in Colorado Springs, probably because their list “may not include earmarks to religious groups and institutions whose names do not reflect their religious affiliations,” according to the paper. Life Network got an earmark of $200,000 in the 2005 budget from the Defense Department for “civilian education and school health decision-making.” Life Network calls itself “a sanctity of human life ministry that impacts and transforms people with the love of Christ.” Including this one brings the total of Colorado earmarks to $10,290,000. Ninety percent of that total went to National Jewish, one of nation’s leading respiratory hospitals.

Speaking on a related issue in an interview last week, Lawrence Pacheco, a spokesman for Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), said, for example, “If someone in a district wants a portion of construction funds for a hospital, there would be some earmark dollars we could seek. It doesn’t mean they are going to get it. There has to be a strong private commitment and funds drawn from other sources. the federal government is rarely the sole source of funding.”

According to the Office of Management and Budget, the National Jewish funding is a continuing earmark since 2001 to build 33,000 square feet of space for the Center for Environmental Health Research and Services.

The only other large earmark to a religiously affiliated recipient over the period was Avista Adventist Hospital in Louisville, which got $640,000, according to the Times. That money was for electronic medical records “shared between Avista Hospital, Clinica Campesina and 21 private physician locations.”

Seven Colorado YMCAs also received a total of $150,000, the Times said.

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Dan Whipple

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