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02/21/2011

OPUS Fi-NOM-us: It's time for NOM to acknowledge its Catholic impetus

by Jeremy Hooper

***NOTE: This post is meant to be an exploration. This is a public presentation of what we have learned, which might just result in more questions that definitive answers. So please take it in the spirt in which it is intended: Not as an "accusation" or a period on any subject, but rather as fair exploration of a powerful, connected, highly-financed nationwide network. Our prevailing interest is to get the National Organization For Marriage, an organization opposed to CIVIL rights, to its most transparent, largely faith-based center.

Let's get started.

***

Examination Point 1: Legatus, a membership organization for Catholic business leaders, first came on our radar during Prop 8. That's when the National Organization for Marriage's general counsel at the time, Charles LiMandri, contributed to a Legatus magazine piece meant to rally Catholics against marriage equality:

NOM president Brian Brown is also a Legatus member (Legates, they are called).


Examination Point 2: Another Legate is a man named David LeJeune. David is the Executive Director of Fidesco USA, a Catholic volunteer organization. David is also the managing partner of something called OPUSFidelis, a new media marketing firm.


Examination Point 3: For the past few months, OPUSFidelis has been controlling the National Organization For Marriage's Social Media properties. That's why you might have noticed duplicate content popping up in a number of different places within the NOM realm (e.g. NOM blog, Brian Brown's Twitter, the "Protect Marriage" Facebook page, etc.). It's all being controlled by a central hub run by OPUSFidelis:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.15.06 Pm
[SOURCE]


Examination Point 4: The person doing most of the NOM Social Hub blogging is someone named Casey Fimian:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.17.04 Pm
[SOURCE]


Examination Point 5: Last fall, this same Casey Fimian hit up all of the prominent Catholic colleges on Facebook...

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.38 Pm

...seeking FIDESCO USA volunteers:

Screen Shot 2011-02-21 At 5.18.59 Pm

Yes, the same FIDESCO USA of which OPUS Fidelis' David Jejeune is the E.D.


Examination Point 6: In the past four years, Casey's father Keith has unsuccessfully ran for Congress from VA's 11 District. In both elections, much was made about the candidate's Catholic outreach and the financing directed his way by Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monagan. Much of that conversation, fair or unfair, was due to Mr. Fimian's prominent role on the national board of directors of -- Legatus (which Monagan himself founded).

Exploratory circle=complete.


Okay, so that's pretty much what we know for now: Lots more Catholic connections from the already canonical NOM. Connections that would be 100% fine, if only NOM would start identifying itself and its cause for what it is. Because they have every right to work from a Vatican-focused place and even every right to use their personal views in their political advocacy, just as long as they do so within the boundaries of law. Obviously. But by not being honest about these deep faith connections, which firm up more and more every day, NOM is doing a disservice to this *CIVIL RIGHTS* conversation and all who engage in it. They owe all of us, both pro- and anti-, a more honest marriage debate.

***

**MORE: Another OPUS Fidelis founder is Joe Giganti, a personality whose lengthy conservative resume includes a stint as strategist of Alan Keyes' presidential campaign. Here's Mr. Giganti talking to Focus on the Family about how LGBT civil rights supposedly insult "real civil-rights laws and the people that have struggled..." And when Mitt Romney distanced himself from Gen. Peter Pace's claim that homosexuality is immoral, Giganti said that Romney's words "clearly display that he has a complete misunderstanding and does not grasp the moral values on which our country has been founded and that the conservative movement is trying to preserve."

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