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Tag: LDS Church

Did Andy Pugno Break State Law In Support Of Marriage Ban?

by Robert Cruickshank

The Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs today filed a complaint with the California Fair Political Practices Commission today against Andy Pugno, one of the key figures behind the effort to ban same-sex marriage in California.

The complaint, which is included below as a Scribd embed, alleges that Pugno misused public funds while on the staff of State Senator Pete Knight in the late 1990s to help the campaign to pass the so-called “Knight Initiative” – a California version of the Defense of Marriage Act banning same-sex marriage. This went to voters in November 2000 as Proposition 22 and was approved with 61% of the vote. This was struck down by the California Supreme Court in May 2008, and in turn Pugno and his allies in the leadership of the LDS and Catholic Churches put Prop 8 on the ballot to change the state constitution to ban marriage. The evidence suggests that not only was Pugno involved with those institutions involved in the planning and management of Prop 8 as we learned at the trial, but that their collaboration goes back into the late 1990s and may have violated state law.

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Pugno is of course the general counsel to ProtectMarriage.com, and a candidate for the Republican nomination for the 5th District State Assembly seat. He is a key figure in the campaign strategy used for both Prop 22 and Prop 8, and for the legal defense of Prop 8 in both the California Supreme Court and in Judge Vaughn Walker’s federal courtroom. As longtime Trial Trackers know, Pugno also played a key role in trying get this website shut down by suing Courage Campaign over the logo we use at this site.

Here’s what led to the filing of the complaint. On Wednesday investigative reporter Robert Salladay published an article on Pugno’s involvement in the Prop 22 campaign while on the payroll of the California State Senate. Specifically, it was alleged that Pugno used public resources of the State Senate – phones, faxes, stationery – to vet the proposed initiative with Mormon leaders. Salladay included a letter Pugno wrote on February 26, 1998 to BYU law professor Lynn Wardle. The letter was on California State Senate letterhead and asked Wardle to review proposed ballot language with an eye toward ensuring it could pass at the ballot box. It was also reported that Pugno may have used public funds to travel to Arizona for a “strategic consultation” meeting with LDS leaders that same year.

That appears to be in violation of the Political Reform Act, which governs issues such as this. In fact, Salladay’s article quoted FPPC staff on this very point:

As for Pugno using Senate letterhead for a political issue – and asking Wardle to use the government fax machine and phone lines – the law is fairly strict. One regulation does allow for “incidental” campaign use, but Roman Porter, executive director of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said about cases like this in general: “The use of public funds for campaign purposes is unlawful.”

Based on the letter and the other evidence reported, Rick Jacobs filed the official complaint against Pugno with the FPPC. He also wrote to Attorney General Jerry Brown seeking an investigation (see that letter here) and to the Secretary of the Senate, Greg Schmidt, seeking public disclosure of various documents related to Pugno’s campaign work while on the staff of Senator Knight (see that letter here).

Here’s what Rick Jacobs had to say about the filing:

The new and troubling disclosures appear to demonstrate willful disrespect for the laws and rules governing the conduct of public servants. If he broke California law, how can he expect to be elected to office to make California law? Andy Pugno needs to be investigated and any appropriate consequences levied for his actions.

We will keep you posted on what happens with the FPPC complaint and other requests for investigation and public disclosure we have filed.

175 Comments January 29, 2010

Liveblogging Day 10: Daily Summary

By Julia Rosen

Man, David Boies just destroyed the defense’s first witness today on cross. I even had a friend and a former student of Professor Miller tweeting at me their embarrassment at his implosion. More specifically, Miller admitted that DOMA and DADT were legislated discrimination. And that was just the afternoon…

This morning the plaintiffs introduced evidence of Prop 8 proponents comparing gay marriage to 9/11 and a reference to polygamy or two. Oh and the tiny little revelation that NOM, the Catholic Church, LDS Church, and the Family Research Council all conspired together through ProtectMarriage.com to use fear and lies to pass Prop 8. It’s something we all knew, but it sure is validating to see it all laid out in Federal Court.

Boies gets to finish his fun in the morning, then it is on to their second and possibly last witness. I think they know they just hurt their case if they get any witnesses of their own on the stand, so they aren’t calling very many.

Now for the real show, the compiled liveblogging from Rick Jacobs from day 10 of Perry v. Schwarzengger. (more…)

76 Comments January 25, 2010

An Explosive Afternoon: LDS Church

By Julia Rosen

The transcripts from this afternoon read like an episode of Law and Order, with the attorneys arguing with the judge over what documents ought to be introduced as evidence. These aren’t just any old documents, they are emails and letters sent back and forth between the Prop 8 campaign and Catholic, LDS, and Evangelical churches.

For example, one letter indicated that the LDS church had identified a volunteer for the campaign in every single zip code. This was a church document that was in the hands of a Prop 8 campaign official, and thus was discoverable. Andy Pugno, the general council for ProtectMarriage.com tried his darnedest to get Judge Walker to exclude it, but failed. From Rick’s liveblog:

Pugno: Objects because document will be revealing.

Judge: Not to make light of this, but the reason people want to produce documents is that they are revealing.

Boutrous: It’s from an outsider to the core group. We are attempting to show the level of coordination with groups that Protect Marriage says were not even affiliated with the campaign.

This is perhaps the most explosive bit of all, from a document between the LDS Church and the campaign:

With respect to Prop. 8 campaign, key talking points will come from campaign, but cautious, strategic, not to take the lead so as to provide plausible deniability or respectable distance so as not to show that church is directly involved.

Get that? The LDS Church intentionally worked to hide behind the scenes to disguise their involvement in the public realm. The LDS Church is well aware that the general public does not have the most favorable opinion of them. Attention on their involvement could have hurt their cause, namely passing Prop 8. (more…)

297 Comments January 20, 2010

Your Right Hand is My Left Hand: The LDS Church and the Prop 8 Campaign

by Brian Leubitz

For about half an hour, Boutrous and Pugno were arguing about the admissibility, and then the names of people, in a document from a Mr. Jansson The interesting part of this is just how these two organizations became two sides of the same coin for about six months in 2008.

Going over all these documents, we learned that over 20,000 Mormons were out door-knocking on the final few weekends. We learned that Mr. Jansson was playing a dual role, both as a leader within the Mormon hierarchy as well as in the protectmarriage.com executive board. We learned that Mormon/LDS Church leaders were powerful in the structure throughout the campaign. Of course, that was no real surprise.

Take the case of Gary Lawrence. He ran a consulting firm that did much of the polling for the Prop 8 campaign, and that role was widely acknowledged. That wasn’t the focus today, but rather the focus was Lawrence’s role of coordinating the entire Mormon effort within Orange County. Here you have a public consultant who is then running the Mormon programs while trying to hide one of these two roles. The line where the LDS Church stopped and the ProtectMarriage.com campaign began was so fuzzy as to subsume the distinction.

Of course, campaigns are often fueled by independent interest groups. It is not surprising to see a leader of an organization take leave to lead a campaign. Groups wrangle and cajole volunteers. Yet, rarely do you get word from a prophet ordering volunteers to show up. And rarely do you see a religious organization so completely subsume a campaign. Yet, the orders came in from on high, and that’s the way it was going to be.

105 Comments January 20, 2010