Sometimes it seems conservative anti-gay groups get the benefit of the doubt until after they spectacularly fail at their primary objective, after years of having all their opinions followed as acceptable debate points and, at the worst, pure gospel. Then all of the sudden, “Voila!” a watchdog shines a light on one of these hateful organizations and realizes just how unethical and immoral they have been all along.
The leading opponent of repealing the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and a decades-long critic of expanded opportunities for military women runs a nonprofit organization that watchdog groups say has filed inaccurate and misleading reports to the IRS, lacks a credibly independent board and is operating uncomfortably close to the line that separates education from lobbying.
The Center for Military Readiness (CMR), the tax-exempt nonprofit founded by Elaine Donnelly nearly 20 years ago, bills itself as “an independent non-partisan public policy organization that specializes in military personnel issues.” But the “small think tank” headquartered out of Donnelly’s suburban Detroit home and run day-to-day by her husband Terry is the single most influential conservative voice pushing back against social progress in the military.
It is a remarkable and, for some, potentially problematic set up that illustrates how an ideological workhorse who has helped tilt the scales of some of the most important cultural debates of our time could operate in relative obscurity with little or no oversight.
How could such moral, upstanding, wonderful people who simply wanted to prevent equal rights for gay Americans be found to be lacking when it comes to the way they’ve conducted themselves and their business operations? The next thing you know there will be allegations the Catholic church has been covering up child rape for years and years! /snark