Michael Peroutka, 2004 presidential candidate of the Constitution Party, Anne Arundel lawyer, and founder of the Pasadena-based Institute on the Constitution (which has employed, among other figures, disgraced Del. Don Dwyer and Christian Reconstructionist loose cannon John Lofton) has for years been a major donor to Republican and social-conservative causes in Maryland. He is also a profoundly and deservedly controversial figure, whose Institute on the Constitution promotes a deeply erroneous view of the U.S. Constitution as an essentially religious document, a view not unconnected with the theocratic crankery of Lofton and others associated with his group. [Mark Newgent, Van Smith/City Paper, Warren Throckmorton/Patheos]
Peroutka’s Republican loyalties, it should be noted, are at best changeable. Although it has been a decade since he ran on the Constitution Party ticket, he delivered himself of the following sentiments just last October: “Anyone, including those who identify with the ‘Tea Party’, who loves America and desires real reform, would do well to disengage themselves from the Republican Party and their brand of worthless, Godless, unprincipled conservatism.”
In checking out Peroutka’s operation I was sorry to observe that a number of elected public officials besides Dwyer have chosen to associate themselves closely with it. Few have done so more closely than Carroll County Commissioner Richard Rothschild, who is a columnist for Peroutka’s website and participates in its operations in various other ways. Rothschild also figured prominently in a scheme to bring an Institute representative to lecture Carroll County employees on the Constitution.
Now we learn that Michael Peroutka donated $4,000 in January to Rothschild’s re-election campaign — a substantial sum for a single race on the five-member Carroll board. Rothschild’s critics have been making hay with this. Is anyone surprised?
Rothschild’s opponent in the June 24 Republican primary is Barbara Biller.