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Human Rights Campaign Links Michael Peroutka to White Supremacists

December 6, 2012
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As City Paper reported in 2004, when Maryland debt-collections lawyer Michael Peroutka was the Constitution Party’s presidential candidate, the guy’s an extreme paleo-conservative with ties to the Texas militia movement and a fellow-traveler with supporters of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke. Today, the Human Rights Campaign went further, calling Peroutka an “active white supremacist and secessionist sympathizer.”

HRC’s basis for the assertion is Peroutka’s ties to the League of the South, which the Southern Poverty Law Center labels an “explicitly racist” hate group. As one of the main supporters of the successful drive to have voters make same-sex marriage legal in Maryland, HRC has demanded that the Maryland Marriage Alliance – which worked to defeat the marriage-equality question – return Pertoutka’s $10,000 donation.

Peroutka told The Baltimore Sun’s Annie Linskey today that he “continues to be a proud member of the League of the South,” since it “has a belief that the central government is too large, too spend-thrift and too out-of-control,” but he called HRC’s characterization of him as a white-supremacist sympathizer “absurd” and “not at all true.”

Peroutka is a litigious man, having even sued his stepdaughters’ social worker for libel after he and his wife forced the girls into the state’s foster-care system, so it’ll be interesting to see if he reacts to HRC’s public assertions with a lawsuit. If he does, it’ll put his alleged sympathies in the spotlight – something that the social-worker case, which he lost, did to his rather shocking family life in the 1990s.

Whether HRC’s conclusions are true or not, the facts underlying them seem to be, since Peroutka happily owns his ties to the League. Either way, HRC used the facts to do something that is sorely needed – to highlight Peroutka’s extremism as an influential player in Maryland’s political scene, where he’s been a generous benefactor of ultra-conservatives, including state Del. Don Dwyer, whose agendas sometimes seem driven by hate. City Paper’s coverage of Maryland same-sex marriage campaign did that, too, and Peroutka hasn’t sued us. At least not yet.