POLITICS

Center For Public Integrity Spotlights Abstinence-Only Education's Benefactor

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Center for Public Integrity takes a look at "abstinence-only" education crusader Raymond Ruddy -- a wealthy retired businessman who has spent millions of his own dollars lobbying Congress.

Ruddy, who runs his own pro-life charity based in Natick, Mass., has reached into his own apparently deep pockets to fund lobbying efforts pushing federally funded abstinence-only sex education. According to Senate public records, the conservative Catholic millionaire has spent $1.5 million lobbying for abstinence-only education causes since 2002.

Ruddy ... is the rare individual who has dedicated his private wealth to the kind of health lobbying usually done by hired guns representing industry and advocacy groups.

By himself, Ruddy has spent more money to lobby on the issue than any abstinence-only advocacy group this year, including the Christian Coalition of America and the National Abstinence Education Association.

Talk2Action.org reports that the low-profile Ruddy has been an influential voice in the debate that wages on public school sex education.

However Ruddy's influence extends far beyond the paucity of Google hits and the few stories about him. The president of the Boston, Massachusetts-based Gerard Health Foundation and the Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Maximus, Inc. -- the giant Reston, Virginia-based services provider that pioneered welfare privatization -- has committed himself big time to election year politics, turning up the heat on Obama. He is also fronting a project aimed at damaging the effectiveness of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

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