Bill Donohue Still Shilling for Karl Rove

Posted May 02, 2008

Today, Bill Donohue, the President of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a 501c3 tax exempt organization, issued a press release labeling Obama's Catholic advisors as Catholic dissidents. By issuing this statement, Donohue not only jeopardizes his tax exempt status but also raises larger concerns over the use of his organization for a partisan agenda.

According to the book Onward Christian Soldiers by the Republican operative Deal Hudson, Karl Rove recruited Bill Donohue to participate in Republican organized efforts to court Catholic voters. By attacking the Catholic advisors of a presidential campaign at this moment, Bill Donohue is again engaging in partisan politics.

"When Bill Donohue talks about Catholic moral priorities and doesn’t mention war, torture or 47 million Americansout health insurance, he is clearly out of step the Catholic church,” said James Salt, communications director for Catholics United. “Bill Donohue criticizes Catholics that don’t agree Bill Donohue, nothing more. To question whether someone is Catholic because they don’t agree you is simply wrong and is a page straight out of Karl Rove’s playbook.”

“Ironically the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights pays Bill Donohue over $343,000 a year to defend the rights of Catholics – lay and clergy alike – to participate in American public lifeout defamation or discrimination,” said Salt, “To ‘defame’ fellow Catholics because they have a different political affiliation is disingenuous to the mission of the Catholic League and undermines its tax exempt status.”

According to Deal Hudson's book*, "Onward Christian Soldiers":

Summary p.181-184:
Karl Rove recruited Deal Hudson to initiate Catholic outreach efforts for George Bush in December 1998. They met in Austin, TX in early 1999 and Hudson signed on to be the "principle advisor on Catholic outreach." Rove then asked Hudson to select some Catholic leaders for a meeting Bush in Austin. Bill Donohue attended.

Summary p. 188
During the primary "McCain's win in Michigan set the Bush campaign into a tailspin, leaving South Carolina a do-or-die primary. Bill Donohue immediately issued a press release defending Bush and excoriating McCain for his attempt to manipulate Catholic voters." This was done because the McCain campaign had sent out recorded messages to thousands of Catholic voters, telling them that Bush had spoken at Bob Jones University, which had explicitly anti-Catholic statements on its Web site.

Summary p.190
"After the success of the election, Rove asked me [Hudson] to form the Catholic Working Group. The CWG held a weekly phone meeting the White House and were often invited inside for meetings the president and other members of the administration." Donohue was part of the CWG.

…"the leadership of the in-name-only Catholics was crumbling, and a new generation was setting the agenda-Bill Donohue, Mother Angelica, Scott Hahn, Rick Santorum, Chris Smith, George Weigel, and others."

* These summaries are intended for background purposes only and direct quotes from Deal Hudson’s book are available on the corresponding pages.