Back in 2014, we watched with amazement as Michael Peroutka, the head of the Christian Reconstructionist group Institute on the Constitution and a former board member of the southern secessionist League of the South, won a local election to be a county councilman in his home county in Maryland.
After Peroutka’s victory, the news broke that an unidentified group that called itself “Marylanders for Transgenders” had sent out robocalls in the final days of the campaign asking voters to call Peroutka’s openly gay Democratic opponent, Patrick Armstrong, to “thank him for his bravery in coming out of the closet” and for supporting a bill that means “transgenders can now openly and freely go into any bathroom of their choice based on their confused gender identity.” The call provided the home phone number of Armstrong’s mother.
At the time, Peroutka denied that his campaign was behind the calls, but today his campaign manager, Dennis Fusaro, was charged with violating election laws by secretly placing the calls. The Baltimore Sun reports:
Maryland’s state prosecutor on Thursday charged two Republican strategists with distributing an illegal robocall considered by many an attempt to smear an openly gay local candidate in 2014.
Prosecutor Emmet Davitt announced charges against Dennis Fusaro, a national Republican figure best known for leaking internal emails and phone calls from Ron Paul‘s 2012 presidential campaign, and Stephen Waters, a Republican political consultant based in Virginia.
Prosecutors said the call lacked the appropriate identification and came from what they described as “an untraceable” prepaid cell phone purchased with cash by Waters and Fusaro at Walmart in Fredericksburg, Va.
Fusaro was the campaign manager of Armstrong’s opponent, Republican Councilman Michael Anthony Peroutka, a former member of the neo-Confederate group League of the South.
Christopher Kachouroff, attorney for Fusaro and Waters, would not say whether his clients were responsible for the call, but dubbed its message “political satire.”
Peroutka continues to say that he had “no prior knowledge” of the robocall.
Listen to the call: