NRLC disavows Bopp’s Brownback statements

Yesterday, Jim Bopp, a supporter of Mitt Romney and former General Counsel (they actually spend text clarifying that he is the former)  to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) attacked Sam Brownback for saying something nice about Rudy Giuliani.

Turns out that he was nasty enough that NRLC disavowed his statements. I have obtained a copy of a letter that NRLC’s President, Executive Director, and Legislative Director, they apologized for Bopp’s statements. The choice bits:

Mr. Bopp’s remarks quoted above, if accurately reported, do not represent National Right to Life, and we disagree with them …

We reject most emphatically anyone’s suggestion that you have sacrificed or would sacrifice the interests of the unborn in order to garner some "personal political benefit."

In January, 2007, the National Right to Life Board of Directors adopted a resolution urging that no NRLC state affiliate, no executive staff member of any state affiliate, and no NRLC Board member should endorse any candidate for President of the United States until an endorsement is adopted by the Board as a whole. Staff employees of the National Right to Life Committee are also barred from doing so. However, Mr. Bopp is neither a director nor an employee of NRLC. Mr. Bopp has served as NRLC’s general counsel for many years, but he is not an in-house general counsel;

In other words, Bopp was attacking Brownback, not because he was right, but because the Romney campaign asked him to. I wonder if it also means that NRLC is willing to play nice if that’s what it comes to.

Update: The American Spectator’s Washington Prowler drills down on this also:

But Bopp is now facing the same kind questions that were raised by conservatives when respected conservatives like Federalist Society leader Leonard Leo supported the nomination of former White House Counsel Harriet Miers to a seat on the Supreme Court, when most conservatives were opposing the nomination.

Bopp is now in the eye of a storm after criticizing Sen. Sam Brownback for meeting with Giuliani, a meeting, sources say, that Giuliani asked for. Romney and Brownback had a scheduled meeting for this week, but it was abruptly canceled after Bopp’s public criticism of Brownback, who ended his presidential run last week.

"Bopp is losing a great deal of credibility by attacking Brownback," says a longtime Washington-based pro-life conservative activist. "We know that Romney is at the very least a squish on abortion. But Bopp seems to ignore years of on-the-record statements and expects us to believe him and Romney’s ‘conversion’ because he says we should believe a man who has done nothing for the [right to life] movement. Nothing."

Full text of the letter after the jump.

A political website today posted an item based on an interview with attorney James Bopp, Jr. Mr. Bopp was described in the article as "one of Mitt Romney’s top social conservative supporters." In the piece, Mr. Bopp was quoted criticizing you for public comments that you made following an October 25 meeting with Rudy Giuliani.

Regarding your reported statement that you felt "much more comfortable" with certain of Mr.Giuliani’s views based on the meeting (among these, his criteria for judicial appointments), Mr. Bopp suggested that you must be putting "personal benefit" ahead of the pro-life cause, remarking, "Brownback is angling for some personal political benefit by cozying up to Giuliani.

Mr. Bopp’s remarks quoted above, if accurately reported, do not represent National Right to Life, and we disagree with them. All of us who know you personally recognize that your commitment to the pro-life cause is deep and heartfelt. We know this because we have worked shoulder-to-shoulder with you on such important pro-life issues as partial-birth abortion, fetal pain, ultrasound, and human cloning; you have been an instigator and a leader on these issues and many more.

We reject most emphatically anyone’s suggestion that you have sacrificed or would sacrifice the interests of the unborn in order to garner some "personal political benefit."

In January, 2007, the National Right to Life Board of Directors adopted a resolution urging that no NRLC state affiliate, no executive staff member of any state affiliate, and no NRLC Board member should endorse any candidate for President of the United States until an endorsement is adopted by the Board as a whole. Staff employees of the National Right to Life Committee are also barred from doing so. However, Mr. Bopp is neither a director nor an employee ofNRLC. Mr. Bopp has served as NRLC’s general counsel for many years, but he is not an in-house general counsel; he has many other clients. Mr. Bopp is also involved in political activities in his personal capacity. It is in his personal capacity that he has endorsed Mr. Romney’s candidacy, and it is in his personal capacity that he gives interviews on such matters, including the remarks quoted above.

Sincerely,

Douglas Johnson
Legislative Director

Wanda Franz, Ph.D.
President

David N. O’Steen, Ph.D.
Executive Director