Last week, CMR published a story about the Director of the Catholic Campaign For Human Development (CCHD). In the piece we brought to light the fact that while Director of the CCHD, an ostensibly Catholic organization, Ralph McCloud simultaneously held the position of treasurer in the succesful campaign of a pro-choice Democrat to unseat a pro-life Republican in Texas.

Even though Director McCloud declined to return our calls to him prior to publishing the story (4 calls in fact–more on that later), he has now decided to respond to us.

In his response he asserts that CMR’s accusations are false. Mr. McCloud, we understand, has sent his response to us and to the CCHD Diocesan Directors as well.

His response (which we reprint in its gloriously inept entirety at the end of this post) can be summed up thusly.

You can’t hold him accountable for being the treasurer of a pro-choice campaign because:

Defense #1) Even though Wendy Davis and he were good enough friends after 4 years on the City Council and they worked on many issues together, guess what? He never asked her about her position on abortion. She must have only taken the pro-choice position AFTER he agreed to (even though this position seemed to be known by many people in the district prior to her announcement.) So, even though he is “deeply and consistently pro-life” and “committed to upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church on the life,” he never even thought to ask about her positions on the Catholic “non-negotiable” life issues before lending his name to the campaign? It strains credulity, no?

Further, as Directory of the CCHD he is responsible for vetting organizations on these very Catholic “non-negotiables” before issuing them grants. Yet, he never even thought to ask?

If we are to take Director McCloud at his word, and I suppose we must, then he is freely admitting his own incompetence in an area that is vital to his job function. Not a very good defense.

Defense #2) Even though he agreed to be campaign treasurer, it was an honorary position and so he didn’t have to do anything. While it is true that Texas law imposes no obligations on the position of Treasurer that does not make it honorary. Accepting the position and allowing his name to be used on signs and literature for this campaign is material support for the campaign. In essence, he is vouching for her by allowing it. Further, he endorsed her campaign as well.

So even though McCloud asserts that he didn’t do much, at the very least, he lent his name in support of the candidate. Further, as treasurer of the campaign he could have and should have been in a position to know that Davis received contributions from several pro-choice groups. The “I wasn’t a very good treasurer” defense does not seem like a really good excuse.

Defense #3 (and my personal favorite), When he accepted the position at CCHD just months after accepting a position on the ongoing pro-choice Davis campaign (it would last another year), he completely forgot. So even though he acknowledges that he should have resigned his position in the pro-choice Davis campaign, he completely forgot that he was treasurer.

He forgot. That is his excuse. He should not be held accountable because he was too incompetent to remember. Don’t get me wrong, I have forgotten a lot of things in my life. I have forgotten to buy milk, I have forgotten to take out the garbage at night, I have even forgotten my birthday, but I cannot imagine that I could ever forget that I am treasurer of an ongoing campaign. Credulity is again strained to the breaking point. One cannot but wonder if McCloud was ever asked to disclose such things as part of his hiring at CCHD and how he answered?

So in essence we got the whole story wrong because even though McCloud and Davis were co-workers and such BFF’s that she asked him to vouch for her by being treasurer, the topic of abortion never came up and he never thought to ask. Plus, he wasn’t a very good campaign treasurer, so poor in fact that he completely forgot that he was treasurer for an entire year while Director at the CCHD.

We got it wrong because we should have known that Mr. McCloud is grossly incompetent. As far as defenses go, this does more harm than good, no?

Lastly, as for his assertion that we only called him for comment the night before and the morning of publishing, not true. We actually placed two additional calls to the CCHD (not his personal CCHD number) two days earlier that went un-returned. We can only guess at what tales of incompetence led to those calls being ignored.

In my opinion, Mr. McCloud, through his actions in accepting the position of treasurer of a pro-choice campaign, his admitted negligence in asking the required questions, and his failure to resign the position after accepting the CCHD position, he has shown himself to be unfit for his position at the CCHD. This is precisely because in his actions and his feeble attempts to explain them away, he demonstrably lacks the kind of judgment that the director of the CCHD needs to adequately and reliably perform the critical grantee vetting process.

The response.

Facts Regarding Ralph McCloud and Accusations circulated by “Creative Minority Report”

In a blog posting on January 19, 2011 “Creative Ministry Report” wrongly asserted without talking to me, that I, while heading CCHD in 2008, was “simultaneously working as a highly placed campaign official for a pro-choice politician seeking to unseat a pro-life politician….CMR believes Ralph McCloud and the CCHD should explain McCloud’s actions to Catholics concerned about the sanctity of life. Does the Catholic Campaign for Human Development only care about human development of some while turning its back on the unborn? Calls to McCloud and the CCHD were not returned.”

· I served as a member of the Fort Worth City Council representing District 8 , a low income community and focused my efforts on crime, housing, employment and related issues. In August of 2007, my colleague on the Council and a partner in these efforts Wendy Davis asked me to serve in to serve as treasurer of her campaign for Texas State Senate. Since the position was purely honorary and Ms. Davis was a friend and colleague on the Council and served a district adjacent to mine I agreed. We had worked together for 4 years on issues affecting very low income communities in Fort Worth.

· I was unaware that she subsequently took a position on abortion that conflicted with my own strong pro-life convictions. We had never discussed or worked on issues related to protecting the unborn or abortion. At the time I gave my permission to serve the honorary role as treasurer, Ms. Davis had taken no position on abortion nor accepted any campaign funds.

· In Texas elections, the treasurer designation is an honorary designation with no formal responsibilities or duties. I attended no meetings, received or made no reports, I made no contributions, and did no fund- raising or campaigning. I was not actively involved in her campaign or in any way.

· Accusations suggest that I worked in Ms. Davis’ Campaign and for the Conference of Bishops simultaneously. I have never worked in Ms. Davis’ campaign. I left Fort Worth to serve as Director of CCHD in January 2008.

· Since my appointment to Director of CCHD, I have worked and lived in Washington DC. I have worked for the United States Conference of Bishops only. My short visits to Fort Worth were only to visit family and attend to my aging parents. I have not been involved in any campaign, and certainly not involved in the Davis campaign for Texas State Senate.

· Prior to my appointment to director of CCHD, I received the endorsement and encouragement of my Bishop and always had the full support of the bishop and his predecessor for work for the diocese and my service on the City Council.

After moving to Washington, I should have formally resigned from the honorary post treasurer but I had simply forgotten I had agreed to be listed and given all that was going on personally and professionally, it didn’t occur to me. I have since asked to be removed as treasurer. I deeply regret if my role as treasurer and my failure to resign has caused any confusion or misunderstanding.

I am deeply and consistently pro-life, beginning with protecting the lives of unborn children, the most vulnerable in our midst. More importantly, CCHD is fully and completely committed to upholding the teaching of the Catholic Church on the life and dignity of all. I am proud of my role as Director in insuring that CCHD abides by these principles and am working to strengthen them in carrying out the review and renewal of CCHD accepted by the Bishops last fall.

As for not returning calls, the first inquiry from the Creative Minority Report was made on a phone call placed to my office at 12:57 AM on Wednesday morning, just before 1 AM on the day the item was posted. Another call and message was left at 9:16 AM, 45 minutes before these inaccurate accusations were posted.