Friday, February 18, 2011

Abortion Rights Leader Is Target of Criminal Probe

Back In January, the day before the anniversary of Roe v Wade, the New York Daily News reported that Kelli Conlin, the President of NARAL New York, the state's biggest abortion-rights organization (except, of course, for Planned Parenthood itself) was stepping down after 18 years in that office. She was also leaving her position with the National Institute for Reproductive Health.

A statement from NARAL suggested the resignation was amicable as Conlin would still "be available to the organizations to provide information and input as they move forward under new leadership."

It now seems, however, that this formal statement wasn't really telling the truth. Unless, that is, Ms. Conlin's advice was going to be sought about buying expensive clothes, vacations, chauffeur services and getting away for years with padding your expense account.

That's right. It turns out that, along with the fact that her co-workers couldn't get along with her (the NY Times reports on Board members quitting because of Conlin's reluctance to comply with federal law), the split stems from Ms Conlin's liberal use of NARAL credit cards. Like $6,000 worth of clothes at Giorgio Armani and Barney's, $17,000 for a summer getaway in the Hamptons, and $100,000 on chauffeur service. But Conlin might have thought she deserved such perks. After all, she was having to squeak by on an annual salary of only $309,000. 

The Manhattan District Attorney has announced a criminal investigation. "But the investigation is awkward for new state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has close ties to both Conlin and NARAL. Conlin was a major endorser of Schneiderman during his campaign, and his father was on NARAL's board for many years."

What do you bet this case doesn't go far? And what do you bet you'll never see 60 Minutes or Nightline mention the story?