An update on an earlier brouhaha at the Golden Dome I first wrote about here. Originally I posted about the thousands of dollars Notre Dame's newly elected trustee -- Roxanne Martino -- donated to Emily's List, a powerful political fundraising group that exists for the sole purpose of advancing abortion rights. When pressed to explain, both the chairman of the Notre Dame Board of Trustees, Richard Notebaert, and the president of the university, Father John Jenkins, originally said that Ms. Martino gave to some groups that provided services for women, and that she was unaware they "also" promoted abortion. When I did a followup story for the National Catholic Register pointing out that Emily's List provided no such other services -- it is admirably clear that it has only one issue, abortion -- the university's pr department forwarded a message from the chairman conceding that Emily's List provided no such services, shifting the explanation ever so slightly to the idea that Emily's List was just an oversight on Ms. Martino's part.
Now a friend of mine just emailed me new information showing that over roughly the same period, Ms. Martino gave to another group solely dedicated to advancing abortion rights: the Illinois state Personal Pac. Like Emily's List, this group makes no secret of its agenda, stating up front across the top of its home page: "Vital to Electing a Pro-Choice Illinois."
This new information makes the official spin that Emily's List was an accident much harder to swallow. It also raises fundamental questions about the Notre Dame administration's behavior here: Did the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Notebaert, know about this other set of Ms. Martino's donations when he originally claimed she was giving to groups providing "other services" for women? Did he know about it later when he said Emily's List was an oversight? Did either know about it when Mr. Notebaert suggested Emily's List was just an oversight? Were they themselves perhaps misled?
Sure seems like a lot of oversights from a leading businesswoman whose handles money for a living, and whose bio states she contributed a chapter entitled "The Due Diligence Process" to a business book.
Very hard to see how a woman who gives so repeatedly to two different single issue prochoice groups is not ... well... prochoice. Every new bit of information, however, suggests that the much bigger issue here is not Ms. Martino but University itself: specifically, the chairman and the president and how forthcoming they are being with the truth. One would think that the priests and at least one bishop on the Notre Dame board should be demanding some hard answers here. This is a big story, badly handled, and the Notre Dame community deserves a full and complete accounting of all Ms. Martino's support and contributions, what Notre Dame's top officials knew about this, and when they knew it. A sad day under the Golden Dome.