DelGaudio is accused of using his government office, employees, salary, and resources as an organization functioning as a support to wage war on the LGBT community.
Eugene DelGaudio is being investigated by the FBI, and is being sued by the Southern Poverty Law Center. And he deserves every single moment of grief and whatever fines or jail time that come to him. DelGaudio is both an elected official, now under investigation, but he is also the head (and probably sole member) of a Southern Poverty Law Center certified anti-gay hate group, Public Advocate, which has made up to $1.6 a year via lying anti-gay fundraising emails that sound more like scripts from bad TV pilots.
DelGaudio is accused of using county-paid employees to do his campaign fundraising work, and even asked one employee, during a hiring interview, her religion, and view on homosexuality and a woman’s right to choose. She later became a whistleblower after claiming, according to a Washington Post exposé, that DelGaudio “put the Public Advocate office in charge of [his] public office.”
In short, DelGaudio is accused of using his government office, employees, salary, and resources as an organization functioning as a support to wage war on the LGBT community.
DelGaudio has been an elected official since 1999, and sits on the Board of Supervisors for Loudoun County, Virginia. He Chairs the Finance/Government Services Committee, and represents the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors/School Board Joint Committee, along with a half-dozen or so other roles in Loudoun County government.
The FBI is investigating DelGaudio for campaign fraud and for using his office inappropriately for fundraising activities, the Washington Post reports:
She worked from a spreadsheet that listed more than a thousand names and the political campaigns to which they had contributed. For weeks earlier this year, she said, she sat in a county office, while on county time, and spent hours calling them, one by one.
The goal was to arrange meetings with the donors and her boss, four-term Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling), one of the region’s most controversial politicians, who is known for his animated diatribes from the dais.
If she was successful, Donna Mateer, a part-time aide, was to list the appointment in a Google calendar titled “Eugene 2012 Campaign Schedule,” she said.
Since then, Mateer came to believe that what she was doing was unethical. She filed a complaint with the county’s Human Resources Department that also alleged a hostile work environment.
Her accusations add to the controversy surrounding Delgaudio, who has publicly denounced gay people as “perverts” and “freaks” and routinely injected himself into heated political battles across the country through his conservative nonprofit group, Public Advocate of the United States.
In particular, Delgaudio has used Public Advocate to rail against same-sex-marriage initiatives in various states and argue that federal anti-bullying legislation and even airport pat-downs are evidence of a “radical homosexual” agenda.
In Loudoun, the veteran supervisor has long been viewed as something of an eccentric, but recently he has gained more widespread attention. This year, Public Advocate was designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. On Tuesday, the civil rights group announced that it would file a federal lawsuit Wednesday claiming that Public Advocate unlawfully used an altered version of a same-sex couple’s engagement photo on anti-gay-marriage campaign literature in Colorado.
Asked about the pending lawsuit Tuesday, Delgaudio said in an e-mail that he was “looking into that.” He did not comment further.
In interviews, he has steadfastly maintained that he has done nothing wrong and strongly denied that he used any county resources to help benefit his political campaign, which would amount to a violation of a county policy that prohibits employees from engaging in political activities “during assigned working hours.”
But three Northern Virginia residents who agreed to meet with Delgaudio told The Washington Post that he sought contributions to his campaign.
Delgaudio acknowledged that some members of his staff were instructed to spend as much as 50 to 60 percent of their time making calls and scheduling meetings for him. But he said the goal was to raise money for one of his favorite community organizations — the Lower Loudoun Boys Football League — and not his campaign.
“I’m simply going to open up a conversation [with the potential donors] and then later, over a period of years, ask them for a large gift for the [football league],” Delgaudio said.
But that’s not all.
DelGaudio used without permission a wedding photo of a same-sex couple as an anti-gay mailer against a state senator. The Southern Poverty Law Center is now suing DelGaudio.
“The image comes from a treasured engagement photo snapped in New York city that was allegedly stolen and reworked by an anti-gay Virginia group,” the Colorado Independent reported. “The group, the Public Advocate of the United States, dimmed the original crisp black and white shot, replaced Manhattan skyscrapers and the Brooklyn Bridge with hazy snow-covered mountains and cut across the middle of the image with words on a blood-red line intended to mock the couple and attack Republican Colorado Senator Jean White, from Hayden in the rural conservative northwest top of the state.”
The New York couple, Brian Edwards and Tom Privitere, are outraged and they engaged attorneys at the Southern Poverty Law Center to send a cease and desist letter to Eugene Delgaudio, president of the Falls Church-based group behind the mailer.
The SPLC, a civil rights organization that has battled discrimination and so-called hate groups for decades, is also representing Kristina Hill, the photographer who took the original photo of the couple.
In July, the Colorado Independent explained a cease and desist letter ignored by DelGaudio:
“It appears from your public statements that you knowingly and willfully misappropriated Tom and Brian’s images and Kristina’s copyrighted photo for use in your homophobic mailers against Colorado state senators,” wrote SPLC Deputy Legal Director Christine Sun in the letter she sent yesterday to Delgaudio.
“As you are certainly aware, Brian and Tom are not public figures. That photo was a deeply personal representation of their love and commitment to one another and the obstacles they overcame to share their lives together. The use of that photo of their wedding engagement and their images to attack gay couples and their relationships as not promoting ‘family values’ was unfair, un-justifiable and demeaning of Tom and Brian’s human dignity.”
Below, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s court filing:
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