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Sr. Walsh soldiers on...

Previous posts at dotCommonweal on the HHS decision to change agencies helping the victims of human trafficking showed the usual Catholic fractiousness, but seemed to overlook the due process issues involved.Sr. Mary Anne Walsh, USCCB spokesperson has tracked down some more information. "I have been informed that six organizations applied for anti-trafficking grants from HHSs Office for Refugee Resettlement (ORR). Four scored so low they did not make the cutoff when evaluated by an independent review board. Two applicants scored well. Heartland Human Care Services scored highest and MRS came in second, very close to Heartland, even after losing points for not being willing to refer for contraceptives and abortions. Yet, after finagling by Sharon Parrott, one of three politically-appointed counselors to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, ORR awarded $4.5 million, spread across Heartland, which earned the award, and United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants and Tapestri, groups that hadnt made the grade according to the independent review board."HHS denies any hanky-panky. Show me the data."


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I agree with Jack Barry. Major Catholic donors are out there. If Archbishop Dolan took the lead, and then asked for assistance from the bishops of perhaps fifteen other large dioceses, the money could be achieved in six months' time. $10,000 here; $30,00 there. This is not at all unrealistic.The excellent service of MRS could then continue and without compromising Catholic teaching. I think the bishops would thereby have made an important point, and that it wouldn't go unnoticed in that city a mile from which I write.

John Page: An the important point would be....?

Margaret - According to his Post bio, the reporter Jerry Markon to whose story you link covers the Justice Dept for the paper and has years of experience covering various court houses, national security trials, a war crimes trial, judges, and the Supreme Court. Only the latest one of his 12 headlines shown relates to the HHS and anti-human-trafficking procurement issue. That raises the question of how familiar he is with the HHS area of the federal government -- the areas differ substantially in many complex ways, as does the area competence of individual reporters and their products. Partial Answer ** Recommended Reading ** What's the Problem? ** An excellent story by Markon in 2007 in the late months of the Bush administration is much to his credit and the Post's: "Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence -- U.S. Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short", 9/23/07. He draws on numerous named sources, including the author of the NRO article linked above, Steven Wagner, ex-HHS, to describe the genesis and bi-partisan promotion of the human-trafficking issue in DC. He details the extraordinarily wide uncertainties surrounding it. A 20111 credible update (is one available?) would clarify a lot of programmatic and funding priorities in the face of finite funds and personnel in the US and USCCB.