The financially strapped Christian Coalition has severed ties with subsidiaries geared to reach Catholics and blacks, as well as ceased publication of its flagship magazine. Contributions fell 36 percent from a record $26.4 million in 1996 to $17 million in 1997.

Layoffs have reduced the coalition staff from 110 to 90. The downsizing comes in the wake of last June's departure of political wunderkind Ralph Reed (CT, July 14, 1997, p. 60). The organization founded by Pat Robertson has had a lower profile under its new leaders, Randy Tate, a former congressional representative, and Donald Hodel, a former Reagan cabinet member.

In January, the Christian Coalition spun off the year-old Samaritan Project, which had focused on the poor and disadvantaged minorities (CT, June 16, 1997, p. 66). Earl Jackson, who remains director of the independent Samaritan Project, says it had difficulty being perceived as genuinely interested in minorities while under the Christian Coalition umbrella.

Also in January, the Catholic Alliance ended all financial ties to the Christian Coalition. Since the break, prominent Catholics such as former baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn and Domino's Pizza chief executive officer Tom Monaghan have joined the board.

"The Catholic Alliance now will be an authentically Catholic voice in public-policy debates and able to mobilize Catholic voters and public opinion," says Keith Fournier, president of the group. Legal separation between the two groups came two years ago (CT, May 20, 1996, p. 76).

The coalition also has ceased publication of Christian American, a glossy, four-color magazine. The advertising-supported bimonthly that had been mailed to 400,000 subscribers will be replaced with a more frequent newsletter.

Spokesperson Arne Owens says the moves will allow the coalition to return to its original focus of training people of faith to become more active in politics.

"We're reorganizing and refocusing programs around the core mission of grassroots activism," Owens says. "We believe the moves we made have been necessary to place the organization on a sound footing financially."

Tate and Hodel are considering the addition of a political action committee. The irs has investigated whether coalition voter guides violated the ban on partisan politicking by tax-exempt groups.

In another development, Jeanne DelliCarpini, the former top financial officer at the Christian Coalition, received a six-year suspended sentence on January 22 after confessing to embezzling $40,346. Circuit Court Judge S. Bernard Goodwyn ordered DelliCarpini, 43, to repay the money she had taken in 1996 and 1997.

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