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National Training and Information Center Pays $550K To Settle Federal Funds Abuse Case

The Saul Alinsky-inspired National Training and Information Center (NTIC) has agreed to fork over $550,000 to the U.S. government to make claims that it misused federal grant money go away, Crain’s reports. NTIC has long been in the forefront of training radical community organizers.

According to Crain’s the nonprofit community organizing group that encourages the formation of other activist groups

was accused by the U.S. attorney’s office in a 2006 federal lawsuit of violating the federal False Claims Act when it used some of the millions it received from a division of the U.S. Department of Justice to lobby members of Congress with hopes of securing more grants. Federal law prohibits the use of federal funds to curry favor with congressmen or congressional employees in connection with a grant.

The government alleged NTIC misused some of the $3 million-plus it received in federal grants from 2000 to 2002 for use to carry out a federal program aimed at helping local groups improve their neighborhoods by fighting drug use, crime, and violence. Specifically, the government claimed NTIC spent $207,131 of the federal cash to send its employees to training conferences in the nation’s capital. An Office of Inspector General report found last year that NTIC tried to cover up the fact that the conferences were related to lobbying, not general training.

The group was founded by the late Gale Cincotta, whom some call the “mother of the Community Reinvestment Act” because she led the effort to create the law that President Carter signed in 1977. Critics say the law, which was strengthened during the term of President Clinton, helped to cause the subprime mortgage crisis by pressing banks to lend money to people they should have known would not be able to pay it back. Taking their cues from activists, banking regulators were given the power to make trouble for banks that in their opinion failed to lend enough money to so-called underserved communities.