The Chicago-based National Training and Information Center (NTIC) has agreed to pay a sizable sum to settle the federal government’s lawsuit against it for using federal grant money to lobby members of Congress for even more grant money. NTIC is a national training center for grassroots community organizations that teaches skills in organizing, policy and research. NTIC claims on its website that the center is devoted to “a far-reaching racial and economic justice agenda.”

The settlement acknowledges that NTIC received millions in grant money from the Department of Justice in 2000, 2001 and 2002. The government alleges that during that time, NTIC used a substantial portion of the grant money to travel to Washington D.C. and lobby members of Congress and their staff to award more federal funds to the organization. But federal funds may not be used for lobbying expenses incurred while attempting to influence federal legislators or their employees. The government’s lawsuit against NTIC alleged that the organization’s misconduct was a violation of the False Claims Act and a breach of contract as well. NTIC does not admit to liability as part of the settlement.

Learn more from the Department of Justice’s Press Release.