SOUTH BEND, IN —In our previous bulletin, we reported that the Cardinal Newman Society had discovered that Roxanne M. Martino, a newly elected Board member, had contributed $16,150.00 to Emily’s List between 2005 and 2008.
The full picture is even more damning. We have checked the Federal Election Commission reports and find that her contributions have been larger, over a longer period, and so recent as fairly to be called current.
Specifically, Ms. Martino began contributing to Emily’s List in 1998, gave about $5,000.00 in every year since 2004, and made her most recent contribution of $5,000.00 on December 23, 2010. The total is $27,150.00.
It should be obvious that such a long record of consistent, substantial, and recent contributions to Emily’s List should be an absolute disqualification for service on the governing body of a Catholic university. But we now learn from an Internet article by William McGurn (ND ’80) of the Wall Street Journal that the Chairman of the Board, Richard Notebaert, insists it is not.
Mr. Notebaert has sent a memo to board members in which he claimed that Ms. Martino simply made a lot of innocent mistakes. After declaring without any visible support that Mrs. Martino is “fully supportive of Church teaching on the sanctity of human life,” the Chairman asserted:
She has through the years contributed to organizations that provide a wide range of important services and support to women. She did not realize, however, that several of these organizations also take a pro-choice position This is not her personal position....”
We disposed of such a claim in our letter to the Fellows included in our recent bulletin even though, as we wrote, we thought it so plainly insupportable that our discussion was unnecessary.
Mr. McGurn shows how badly we underestimated the audaciousness of Mrs. Martino’s defenders.
Mr. Notebaert’s description of the organizations to which Mrs. Martino contributed has nothing to do with Emily’s List. That organization does not “provide a wide range of important services and support to women.” As Mr. MGurn says:
Pace Mr. Noterbaert, this is not a group that “also takes” a view on abortion. Abortion is the issue here. Emily’s List has no other purpose. This is America’s premier group for electing pro-choice Dermocratic women.
Mr. McGurn continues with citations from Emily’s List website that show why it is impossible to believe that someone could give this organization so much money over such an extended period without understanding this “elementary fact about an exceptionally well established political group.” Are we to suppose she never read any of its solicitation or other literature? A CEO of an investment firm managing billions of dollars whose stock in trade is knowing all there is to know about everything it touches?
The real question now is whether the Fellows and the Board will accept this blazingly infirm explanation.
Mr. McGurn asks, “What does it say about [Mr. Notebaert’s] view of the intelligence of the Notre Dame board that he would put out something so dissembling?” And he concludes:
Maybe [Mr. Notebaert] is right about the board: that these aren’t men and women who are going to ask tough questions. Maybe they’ll be happy with a spin that 20 seconds on the Emily’s List website would dispel. Mr. Notebaert’s little email about Ms. Martino sure seems, however, to raise rather than dispel questions about the kind of judgment that prevails on the Notre Dame board.
Of course, it may not be a matter of courage at all. They may just not care. As matters stand, all know what to think of the University’s pro-life protestations.