Non-profit

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Location:

Washington, DC

Tax ID:

52-0984255

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $1,029,685
Expenses: $1,153,081
Assets: $867,034

Formation:

April 1972

Type:

Social welfare group

Executive Director:

Simone Campbell

The NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice is a left-of-center advocacy organization that advocates for legislation. It is the lobbying arm of NETWORK Advocates, which handles its direct activism and the training of local communities to organize for left-of-center causes.

NETWORK is an outspoken critic of Republican policies. The group first rose to prominence with its “Nuns on the Bus” tour in opposition to then-Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, with NETWORK executive director Simone Campbell speaking at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. [1] It opposed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment, and other pro-business and pro-free-market legislation. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

History

NETWORK was founded in April of 1972 by a group of 47 nuns, beginning immediately by promoting left-of-center legislation to prominent Democrats, such as Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), Sen. Adlai Stevenson III (D-IL), and Rep. Geraldine Ferraro (D-NY). [7] According to its first newsletter, its priorities were “international poverty, congressional reform, minimum wage, child care, consumer protection, the environment, farmworker rights, healthcare, opposition to the Vietnam War, prison reform, tax fairness, welfare reform, and women’s rights.” [8]

NETWORK has been highly critical of every Republican administration since its founding, most notably Presidents George W. Bush and President Donald Trump. The lobby called George W. Bush-era tax cuts “shameful” and “unconscionable,” [9] and opposed any military response to the September 11th attacks. [10]

In the words of the National Catholic Reporter, a left-of-center Catholic publication, NETWORK did not “gain traction on [Capitol] Hill” until 2010, when it lobbied for Obamacare under executive director Simone Campbell, a member of the Sisters of Social Service religious order. [11] The group wrote a “nuns’ letter” to Congress supporting the legislation, despite opposition by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, earned it significant favor from the Left. President Barack Obama specifically thanked the Network for its work, remarking that without the influence of NETWORK, he would “not have gotten the Affordable Care Act done.” [12]

Political Activities

In 2012, NETWORK led a campaign opposing proposed reforms to the Medicare system proposed by and the Vice Presidential candidacy of then-U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) through its “Nuns on the Bus” activist tour. Simone Campbell addressed the 2012 Democratic National Convention in support of the re-election of President Barack Obama. [13]

The 2018 “Nuns on the Bus” tour, or country-wide tours by which NETWORK seeks to bring attention to specific issues sought to convince Americans that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was a giveaway to the rich. [14] In previous years, the topics of the bus tours included illegal immigration and income inequality. NETWORK lambasted “the second year of the Republican-led 115th Congress [as] another year of chaos and struggle,” calling their legislation a “barrage on the common good.” [15]

President Ronald Reagan was also retroactively targeted by Executive Director Sister Simone Campbell, as she blamed him for modern-day poverty in America. According to The Valley Catholic, Simone “said it began in 1980 when Ronald Reagan became president. Reagan, she said, changed the notion in America from ‘We the People’ to the one, lone, rugged, individual.” [16]

Criticism from the Catholic Church

The relationship between left-of-center Catholic activists and the Vatican have long been tenuous at best. A 1983 article from the comparatively nascent NETWORK, then stylized as merely “Network,” even then displays the contention between Rome and the progressive nuns. Nancy Sylvester, a Sister of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the then-national coordinator of Network, told the New York Times: “We’re operating out of one model; the hierarchical church, out of another [. . .] Often we’re just not respected or appreciated for what we have done.” [17]

The conflict reared to a head in 2012, when the Vatican accused NETWORK of having ““serious doctrinal problems.” It pointed out that it was “focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping ‘silent’ on abortion and same-sex marriage.” [18]

When questioned by a journalist about whether abortion should be prohibited, Simone Campbell said, “That’s beyond my pay grade.” [19]

Present Activities

NETWORK posts several times a week on its blog, addressing current events, budgetary matters, and legislative proposals. NETWORK organizes periodic “Nuns on a Bus” advocacy tours.

NETWORK’s plans for legislative activity in 2020 are outlined on the “2020 Policy Vision” section of its website. It includes proposals such as drastically cutting military spending, abolishing private healthcare and replacing it with government-run “Medicare for All,” and an unspecified “living wage” higher than the a minimum wage. [20] [21] [22]

Leadership

The current Executive Director of the NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice is Simone Campbell, a Catholic religious who receives a salary of $40,906 for her work. [23] An outspoken critic of Republican politicians and conservative policies, she was a speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. [24]

The other paid member of the NETWORK Lobby is Paul Marchione, a nonprofit executive who has held leadership positions for Common Sense about Kids and Guns and the Brady Campaign, a longstanding gun control group. He earns a salary of $37,889. [25]

Finances

Tax filings from 2017 show total revenues of $1,122,445 and total expenses of $1,059,270. [26]

A large portion of its expenses went towards its “NETWORK Education Program,” a related 501(c)(3) that handles the “Nuns on a Bus” program. It is also run by Paul Marchione and Simone Campbell. [27]

References

  1. White, Stephen P. “The Decline and Fall of Catholic Democrats?” National Review. September 11, 2012. Accessed July 02, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/2012/09/decline-and-fall-catholic-democrats-stephen-p-white/. ^
  2. Campbell, Simone. “I’m A Nun Leading A Cross-Country Bus Tour To Protest The GOP Tax Law – Here’s Why.” Bustle. June 12, 2019. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.bustle.com/p/im-a-nun-leading-a-cross-country-bus-tour-to-protest-the-gop-tax-law-heres-why-12113941. ^
  3. Sanchez, Brandon. “Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings: Abortion, Immigration and Other Catholic Concerns.” Jesuit Review. September 24, 2018. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2018/09/07/kavanaugh-confirmation-hearings-abortion-immigration-and-other-catholic. ^
  4. “Over 150 Rights Organizations Urge Congress to Prohibit Expanded Immigration Detention Funding.” Human Rights Watch. September 10, 2018. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/09/05/over-150-rights-organizations-urge-congress-prohibit-expanded-immigration-detention. ^
  5. Singer, Paul. “Thousands of Nuns Urge Senators to Vote against Obamacare Repeal.” USA Today. July 23, 2017. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/07/23/thousands-nuns-urge-senators-vote-against-obamacare-repeal/502885001/. ^
  6. Geevarghese, Joseph. “Called to Defend the Rights of Workers.” NETWORK Lobby. July 02, 2018. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://networklobby.org/catholicsocialjusticereflection5/. ^
  7. Campbell, Sister Simone. “NETWORK National Catholic Social Justice Lobby Celebrates 40 Years of Working for Social Change.” The Washington Post. April 18, 2012. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/network-national-catholic-social-justice-lobby-celebrates-40-years-of-working-for-social-change/2012/04/18/gIQAO1mMRT_story.html?utm_term=.19f14b527313. ^
  8. “History.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://networklobby.org/about/history/. ^
  9. Culler, Tegan A. “The Bishops’ Big Break: With Bush in the White House, the US Bishops See Clear Sailing on Their Conservative Agenda.” Catholics for Choice. Summer 2001. Accessed June 24, 2019. http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/issues_publications/the-bishops-big-break-with-bush-in-the-white-house-the-us-bishops-see-clear-sailing-on-their-conservative-agenda/. ^
  10. “History.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://networklobby.org/about/history/. ^
  11. Filteau, Jerry. “Pro-life, Social-justice Catholics Gain Traction on Hill.” National Catholic Reporter. April 16, 2010. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.ncronline.org/news/politics/pro-life-social-justice-catholics-gain-traction-hill. ^
  12. Jenkins, Jack. “This Catholic Nun Pushed Obamacare through Congress. Now She’s Fighting to Save it.” ThinkProgress. June 30, 2017. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://thinkprogress.org/simone-campbell-health-care-663083582f55/. ^
  13. White, Stephen P. “The Decline and Fall of Catholic Democrats?” National Review. September 11, 2012. Accessed July 02, 2019. https://www.nationalreview.com/2012/09/decline-and-fall-catholic-democrats-stephen-p-white/. ^
  14. “Nuns on the Bus 2018.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://networklobby.org/bus2018. ^
  15. “NETWORK Lobby Releases Annual Catholic Social Justice Scorecard for Congress.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://networklobby.org/news/votingrecord2018//. ^
  16. Sullivan, Liz. “The Valley Catholic.” The Valley Catholic News. October 26, 2016. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://tvc.dsj.org/2016/10/26/sister-simone-campbell-sss-leads-discussion-on-poverty-advocacy/. ^
  17. Briggs, Kenneth A. “WOMEN AND THE CHURCH.” The New York Times. November 06, 1983. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/1983/11/06/magazine/women-and-the-church.html?searchResultPosition=27. ^
  18. Goodstein, Laurie. “Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes.” The New York Times. April 18, 2012. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/us/vatican-reprimands-us-nuns-group.html. ^
  19. Quoted in McCormack, John. “Catholic Nun & DNC Speaker Simone Campbell on Abortion: ‘That’s Beyond My Pay Grade’.” The Weekly Standard. September 05, 2012. Accessed July 02, 2019. https://www.weeklystandard.com/john-mccormack/catholic-nun-dnc-speaker-simone-campbell-on-abortion-thats-beyond-my-pay-grade-651775. ^
  20. “Taxes Issue Page.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://networklobby.org/issues/taxes/. ^
  21. “Healthcare Issue Page.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://networklobby.org/issues/healthcare/. ^
  22. “Income Issue Page.” NETWORK Lobby. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://networklobby.org/issues/income/. ^
  23. NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2017, Part VII ^
  24. “Sister Simone Campbell’s DNC Speech.” YouTube. September 5, 2012. Accessed June 23, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgzQ5tjV_Fo ^
  25. NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, 2017, Part VII ^
  26. “NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice 990s.” Guidestar.org. Accessed June 24, 2019. https://www.guidestar.org/profile/52-0984255. ^
  27. “Network Education Program – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. May 09, 2013. Accessed June 26, 2019. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/521307764 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: January 1, 1974

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2016 Dec Form 990 $1,029,685 $1,153,081 $867,034 $49,790 N $1,007,890 $0 $20,896 $86,627
    2015 Dec Form 990 $987,995 $1,177,060 $992,862 $65,606 N $957,516 $0 $26,094 $90,163 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $1,653,955 $1,361,398 $1,210,966 $67,334 N $1,639,923 $0 $9,904 $100,263 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,323,903 $1,193,006 $874,572 $38,224 N $1,135,769 $158,857 $9,048 $150,391 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $1,376,271 $951,721 $684,876 $23,826 N $1,284,811 $77,735 $4,305 $55,729 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $730,968 $730,404 $242,325 $26,045 N $634,703 $85,685 $2,663 $54,728 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

    820 1ST ST NE STE 350
    Washington, DC 20002-4243