Bob Vander Plaats Violated His Own Marriage Fidelity Pledge, Accepted Millions In Federal Funds

Bob Vander Plaats’ Iowa Family Policy Center accepted at least $2.2 million in government funding between 2006 and 2010 as it fought efforts to undermine the state’s same-sex marriage law, the Associated Press is reporting. The group successfully unseated three Iowa Supreme Court justices who overturned a law prohibiting marriage equality:

The documents reviewed by The Associated Press show the $2.2 million received by the Iowa Family Policy Center between 2006 and 2010 helped hundreds of Iowans get marriage education and counseling.But the money also paid for part of the salaries of five employees, its rent, phones and other expenses while opposing legalized same-sex marriage in Iowa. Federal employees at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services approved the costs, and the center’s top official said they were careful to comply with all guidelines.

The report follows an earlier AP investigation from May, which had concluded that the group — which now operates under the FAMiLY LEADER name — “received more than half of its funding from federal grants over a five-year period,” benefiting from “President George Bush’s faith-based initiative, which made it easier for social and religious organizations involved in community work to win federal funding.” “Records show the policy center was awarded a five-year grant worth $550,000 per year from the Health and Human Services Department in 2006 to promote healthy marriages. The money went to a program it operates called Marriage Matters, which claims to have saved hundreds of marriages through its mentoring and counseling programs,” the AP found in May.

The group’s reliance on federal funds contradicts Vander Plaats carefully tailored image as a fiscal conservative and undermines vow 13 of the now infamous marriage fidelity pledge. The document, which was signed by Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum, says any Republican presidential candidate must demonstrate a “Commitment to downsizing government and the enormous burden upon American families of the USA’s $14.3 trillion public debt, its $77 trillion in unfunded liabilities, its $1.5 trillion federal deficit, and its $3.5 trillion federal budget.”