New book alleges Rove held secret Abramoff meetings;
Stepfather's gay life explored

Larisa Alexandrovna
Published: Saturday September 2, 2006

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A new book by Austin-based journalist James Moore and senior Dallas Morning News political reporter Wayne Slater will report Tuesday that Karl Rove's step-father, Louis Rove, divorced his mother and lived the rest of his adult life as an openly gay man, RAW STORY has learned.

This is one of many bombshells delivered by reporters James Moore and Wayne Slater in The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power. RAW STORY obtained an advance copy of the book.

The book also alleges that Rove held streetcorner meetings with fallen superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, knowing that all visits and phones calls to the White House were logged. Abramoff recently pleaded guilty to tax fraud and conspiring to bribe members of Congress.

"When the latest sidewalk strategy session with Karl Rove had concluded, Jack Abramoff settled into the backseat of his chauffeur-driven car," Moore and Slater write on page 9. "'Like I said, everything that comes out of the White House is logged in. The phone calls he makes. The phone calls he receives. So this is just easier.'"

There is much to digest in The Architect, but new details of Rove's family history, self-proclaimed agnosticism, and the political machine built by friends such as the scandalized lobbyist Jack Abramoff, are certain to raise the hackles of Rove's Republican base.

Citing on the record sources including close friends of the elder Rove, Moore and Slater reveal he lived openly as a gay man and remained close to his son throughout his life.

Karl grew up believing Rove was his natural father, learning the truth only after his parents divorce during his young adulthood. A New Yorker profile of Rove recounts their relationship:

Rove spoke of his adoptive father in a tone of fierce admiration, love, and loyalty, for, as he put it, "how selfless his love had been," as shown by his willingness to play, persuasively, the part of a blood parent for two decades.

The Architect describes the relationship of Louis and his long time friend, Joseph Koons. "Joseph Koons had been living openly as a gay man throughout his adult life, but Louis Rove had only come out after he'd left his family in Salt Lake City and moved to Southern California," the authors write.

In the book, Koons recounts how he and the elder Rove began to cruise the scene in Palm Springs, looking to make friends with older gay men, eventually forming a social club they dubbed the "Old Farts Club."

"The men met every Friday, usually at the Rainbow Cactus Restaurant or the Martinie Burger, to eat, drink, and socialize," of the book says.

Moore and Slater raise speculation as to whether the suicide of Rove's mother, Reba, may have been aggravated by shame she felt over Louis' homosexuality.

"A man of almost startling intelligence, Rove is not likely to have ignored the possibility that his father's homosexuality might have figured in his mother choice to end her own life," the authors write.

A self-admitted agnostic, Rove has to date portrayed his parent's divorce and mother's subsequent death as something of a mystery.

"It's hard to figure out," Rove told Time Magazine in 2004. "You can speculate on what demons she just wasn't able to overcome, but she couldn't."

One might think that such a sensitive family situation might have kept Rove from using it as a political ace-in-the-hole. Instead, Rove made sexual orientation -- specifically, gay marriage -- the centerpiece of a presidential campaign aimed at getting out conservative voters in states like Ohio.

The premeditated and well-organized assault of the Rove-led GOP as described in The Architect is breathtaking. One has to wonder why a group of senior members of the Christian right, huddled in a room together, and planning to play one Christian denomination against another never made the headlines.

Yet Moore and Slater present something more than the background shockers of these public figures. They provide a detailed illustration of a conglomerate that profited on faith, race, heritage, even gender, using the very people who are trusted by their congregations, their leaders and their heroes.

The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power by James Moore and Wayne Slater is on sale Tuesday from Crown Books.