Hand That Feeds
Serving as a go-to guy for the Religious Right has cemented Horn's career. The National Fatherhood Initiative, was born and bred to spout "traditional values." It was founded in 1994 with $40,000 from the ultra-right Scaife Family Foundation, according to Media Transparency.org. Its original name -- the National Organization of Fathers -- was meant to serve as a male-fronted counter to the National Organization for Women (since NOW and feminists are evil, in their view), just as the Independent Women's Forum, with which Horn was also involved, was to serve as female-fronted counter, both groups parading "traditional values" in sneaky costumes for the Religious Right.
Most of society's problems, according to a 1997 interview of Horn, are caused by feminists. At a time when the National Fatherhood Initiative was still operating from his kitchen, he explained:
As a government official, Horn has shown that he understands the hand that feeds very well. It was he, for example, who approved the hiring of columnist Maggie Gallagher to promote marriage -- although she denies that she used her column as currency for exchange. Gallagher had also worked for the National Fatherhood Initiative, according to research by Bill Berkowitz. It was Horn who gave money to writer Mike McManus to support marriage promotion, while also giving money to McManus' organization, Marriage Savers ("a ministry that equips ... local congregations to prepare for lifelong marriages ..."). Horn, as it happens, is also a founding board member of Marriage Savers.
Horn has also funded a multitude of specious marriage counseling programs that funnel money to churches.
Horn was recently handed additional money to dispense -- the $157 million in abstinence-only education. He has a nifty idea that abstinence programs could go beyond students, and become engaging programs for adults, as well.
National Fatherhood Initiative co-founder Don Eberly is also deeply embedded in the Religious Right. He was a former Reagan White House aide, who, Fred Clarkson noted, developed conservative state policy networks to spread "family" issues. He, too, was tapped by George W. Bush, and named as deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. Writes Berkowitz,
Horn, who has a PhD in clinical psychology, used his position as president of NFI as a platform for reactionary views. He opined that marriage should be promoted by changes in government policy, for example, by letting only children of married couples into Headstart ("there are still going to be plenty of places for children of single women"), and by giving married couples preferences in public housing and welfare benefits. He claimed that domestic partnership is bad because it is "antimarriage," and discourages marriage. Of course, he opposes abortion.
His nomination to a key government position was opposed by dozens of women's groups , which described the "sexist agenda" of the National Fatherhood Initiative, challenged his use of gender stereotypes and "his assertion that wives should 'submit' to their husbands."
Horn's views were well-known to insiders before Bush put him on the government payroll. He had served under the first President Bush as commissioner of Children, Youth and Families in the Administration for Children and Families. He was affiliated with the conservative Hudson Institute, and, as noted above, served on the board of the ultraconservative Independent Women's Forum. According to a 2000 briefing paper by Lee Cokorinos of the Institute for Democracy Studies, Antifeminist Organizations: Instituting the Backlash, the board of the IWF included Lynne Cheney, Mary Ellen Bork and Midge Decter; others affiliated with IWF include ultraconservatives Christina Hoff Sommers, Linda Chavez and Elaine Chao.
Conservative foundations spread the butter for both IWF and Horn's National Fatherhood Initiative. In addition to the Scaife start-up grant for NFI, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, Inc. delivered two grants of $100,000 to get it going. The project continued to be funded generously by Bradley and Scaife, with additional funds from the F.M. Kirby Foundation, the Earhart Foundation (To support a book, 'The Faith Factor in Fatherhood' by Don Eberly), the Jacquilin Hume Foundation, Castle Rock Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation (`Fatherhood and TV Evaluation Project: Wade Horn will direct an effort to examine how fathers are depicted in prime time television). From 1994 to 2004, the National Fatherhood Initiative received 57 grants for $3,554,830 from the conservative foundations tracked by Mediatransparency.org.
The government began to kick in with NFI funding, too. According to IRS 990 forms posted on Guidestar.org, the group had total revenue of $4,434,347 in 2002. Of that, $2,846,095 came from government grants, and $1,153,520 from other grants and contributions. The 2004 Form 990, covering the calendar year 2004, reported similar, but slightly lower, amounts; $4,102,614 in total revenue and $2,662,916 in government grants.
In those areas in which Horn has been unable to direct government policy to reflect his regressive views, he has deftly directed money to organizations that believe as he does -- such as NFI.
With a million dollars distributed to the National Fatherhood Institute by Horn's own department in a program specially crafted to mirror the mission of the organization, Horn is giving a big handout to his baby. The funds equal one-quarter of the NFI's previous budget, and the great thing about a "capacities-building" grant is that it can be used to cover any number of expenditures -- whether buying mailing lists or outfitting new computers. NFI is using half of its funds (approximately $500,000) to further spread its "traditional families" propaganda to 20 other "comunity-based" or "faith-based" organizations, which will receive $25,000 to participate in a training program.
The not-so-distant sound is of the Scaife Family Foundation-- clapping with both hands.
Hand That Feeds | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)
Hand That Feeds | 10 comments (10 topical, 0 hidden)