One brother is Obama’s chief of staff. The other is an embattled former top deputy to St. Paul’s Archbishop, charged with covering up sex abuse and refusing to cooperate with the police. Put together, the McDonough brothers show how bad timing and bad moral decisions may push two former “superstars” into very public and very embarrassing falls from grace.
Denis the Politician
Appointed White House Chief of Staff in January 2013 after a career as a foreign policy advisor, “hard-charging” Denis has been called one of the most efficient chiefs of staff in recent memory. Insiders on both sides of the political spectrum say that the White House “has never worked better.”
Unfortunately, that may be not enough to save him. According to the New York Times:
Mr. McDonough’s failure to head off the health care problems surprised those who see him as a man of discipline and attention to detail. But current and former administration officials say that after 10 months on the job, one problem may have been that he stretched himself too thin and tried to do too much himself.
“Denis is playing the role of chief of staff, legislative director, chief strategist and head of the accountability and implementation office,” said a former colleague who asked for anonymity to speak more candidly. “One man can’t play all of the infield.”
In the months before the rollout, Mr. McDonough worked closely with Kathleen Sebelius, the health and human services secretary, but did not see the warning signs clearly. He expressed confidence in the system only hours before the Oct. 1 kickoff. “There’s hundreds of people who worked all through last weekend as they have now through many, many weekends, to make sure that everything is in place, tested, firm, ready to roll,” he said as he walked the South Lawn.
While the ACA rollout was in the works far before he started the job, its utter failure will require a “fall guy.” After Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Denis’ fall might be next—the result of bad timing and too much trust.
Kevin the Priest
Older brother Kevin is facing a fall from grace of his own. But unlike Denis, this fall is of his own making—what many are calling his “insidious and criminal” cover-up of child sex abuse in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Now, he’s refusing to cooperate with the police.
For 17 years, Kevin was top-deputy to the archbishop, one of the most powerful jobs in the archdiocese. As Vicar General, McDonough was. according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “revered for his work with the poor” and “charmed legislators as chaplain of the Minnesota Senate.” But while he was charming cops and politicians alike, recently exposed documents show that he was actively covering up for child sex offenders in the priesthood.
Although McDonough was the chief child protection officer in the Archdiocese, he, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, “had a key role in at least three cases of alleged priest sexual misconduct that, combined, have resulted in a lawsuit against the archdiocese, a priest in jail, the resignation of a top archdiocesan official and calls for the resignation of Archbishop John Nienstedt.“
Since allegations of the cover-up of abuse came to light, McDonough has been removed as Vicar General and stripped of his position on the board of St. Thomas University.
Yesterday, the St. Paul Police Department announced that McDonough is refusing to cooperate with their investigation of child sex abuse and cover-up. He has also retained his own lawyer. The Archdiocese is claiming full cooperation, but says that they “cannot speak for Fr. McDonough and his choice not to speak with the police.”
The politician and the priest: One is in need of prayers. The other? He doesn’t have a prayer.