Auditor general says Real Alternatives abused state grant

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A women’s health group that tried to stop a state audit is now accused of misusing state funds.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale audited Real Alternatives, a non-profit that provides pregnancy services to women. The 24-page audit found between 2012-2013 and 2014 to 2015, Real Alternatives collected $407,368 from subcontractors through a three-percent fee.

In March, Real Alternatives responded to the audit by suing the auditor general and the Department of Human Services. Real Alternatives receives a $30.2 million grant from DHS for five years. DePasquale says Real Alternatives keeps three-percent of that money to grow its business outside of the state.

“That is where they were using Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars to actually try and improve their business model,” said DePasquale. “It’s simply just wrong to have Pennsylvania taxpayer dollars be going to help someone else’s business expand their market nationally.”

DePasquale recommended Real Alternatives pay back the misused funds. He also recommended the Department of Human Services better monitor their grants.

Real Alternatives responded with the following statement:

“Real Alternatives continues to be shocked by the misrepresentation regarding an issue that was known by the then Department of Public Welfare from the outset.

The Auditor General’s press release, press conference and audit report obscures crucial facts about the Real Alternatives Program Development and Advancement Agreement (PDAA). The PDAA is a second voluntary contract where Service Providers hire Real Alternatives to grow its model Pregnancy and Parenting Support Program.

Service Providers are fully paid as part of the DHS state program, administered by Real Alternatives, that funds them. Since at that moment, it is the Service Provider’s earned money, they are free to do with it whatever they want. They voluntarily use THEIR funds to hire Real Alternatives to advance their life-affirming work throughout America. At NO time do PA state taxpayer funds pay for any of this work.

The reality of the situation between Real Alternatives and its Service providers shows two separate agreements legally, ethically, and morally working together. The simple contract law principals are clear to the parties and any other party concerned about the truth.

Real Alternatives is an excellent steward of taxpayer dollars and has demonstrated that by having a spotless record of low administrative costs, outstanding performance, and high accountability over 20 years, throughout both Democratic and Republican administrations.”

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