Philip Guarino

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Philip A. Guarino (died November 10, 1993) was an American former Roman Catholic priest [1] and restaurateur who was active in Republican Party politics for many years. A resident of Italy during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini, he was later a long-time associate of Italian neo-Fascist political activists.


Guarino was born in West Winfield, Pennsylvania and graduated from Boston College in 1931.[2] Guarino later lived in Italy where he graduated from theology school and was ordained a Catholic priest.[1] He moved to Washington, D.C. in 1945, and opened Phil's Italian Restaurant.[3] He was a long time friend of Michele Sindona, Paul Peter Rao, Frank Stella[4][5] and Licio Gelli.[6] He later left the priesthood,[6] and in 1973, married Sarah H. Guarino.[7]

After moving to Washington, DC, Guarino became active in politics. In all he met or served four US Presidents on Italian-American or Republican committees: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and George H. W. Bush. He was invited to various state dinners and served on Bush's campaign committee.[8][9]

In 1973, with the permission of then-Grand Master, Antoine Zdrojewski, and Swiss Prior Alfred Zappelli, Guarino founded the "U.S. Priory" of the Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem (OSMTJ), which in English was called the "Supreme Military Order of the Jerusalem Temple." [10][11][12][13]

Prior to Michele Sindona's arrest and conviction in 1980, Guarino is alleged to have "coordinated" efforts to save him. It has been claimed that Guarino was linked to the U.S. Secret Service and Cosa Nostra, and on behalf of those organizations, was trying to rehabilitate Sindona.[14]

After his involvement in politics, he became an active member of various hospitality industry trade associations. He died on November 10, 1993 at the age of 86.[2]

P2 controversy[edit]

During his career, Guarino was accused several times of having ties to various Italian fascist organisations and was accused of being a member of Licio Gelli's P2 Masonic Lodge. In 1988, the Washington Jewish Week published an article suggesting that several members of George H. W. Bush's "ethnic coalition", including Guarino, had ties to various anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi and fascist groups.[1] Six members of the ethnic coalition resigned from the campaign, including Guarino. Bush defended Guarino and several others, insisting they were "honorable men". The Anti-Defamation League, though, suggested the Republican Party had not adequately investigated the allegations.[15]

Though Guarino was open about knowing Gelli, he emphatically denied ever being part of the P2 Lodge - a denial repeated by Bush's campaign team.[6] When the Italian police investigated P2, they found that Guarino was corresponding with Gelli. Guarino also hosted Gelli at Reagan’s 1981 Inauguration, introducing him to distinguished guests.[16]


Guarino’s appointments:

  • Vice-chairman of the Ethnic Outreach Committee for the George H. W. Bush Campaign.[1]
  • Director of the Senior Citizens Division of the National Republican Committee.[1][17]
  • Member of John Connally's Committee on the Defense of the Mediterranean.[16]
  • Co-Founder and a Director of the District of Columbia National Bank (now part of NationsBank).[3]
  • Treasurer of the National Licensed Beverage Association.[3]
  • Elected to the Vice Chairmanship of the Republican Heritage groups (1971 - 1975).[3][16][18]
  • Deputy Directory of the Speaker’s Bureau, Washington DC.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Sixth Bush Backer Quits; Accused of Ties to Fascism by Associated Press (Los Angeles Times, 14 September 1988)
  2. ^ a b "Philip Guarino, 86, former RNC official". Washington Times. November 12, 1993. Retrieved October 26, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e Restaurateur, Activist Philip Guarino Dies (Obituary) (The Washington Post, 12 November 1993)
  4. ^ The Iran-Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era by Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott & Jane Hunter (South End Press, 1987) ISBN 9780896082922
  5. ^ Richard Drake (1995). The Aldo Moro Murder Case. p. 106. ISBN 9780674014817.
  6. ^ a b c Bush Panelist Out After Reports of Anti-Jewish Ties by Richard L. Berke (New York Times, 9 September 1988)
  7. ^ "Sarah H. Guarino, 88, librarian, restaurateur". Washington Times. June 18, 1998. Retrieved October 26, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ The Daily Diary of President Gerald R Ford - 25 September 1974 Archived 5 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine (Gerald R. Ford Foundation)
  9. ^ The Daily Diary of President Gerald R Ford - 9 October 1975 (Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum)
  10. ^ The Order of the Solar Temple: The Temple of Death by James R. Lewis (Ashgate Publishing, 2006) p. 25 ISBN 9780754652854
  11. ^ History (Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem)
  12. ^ Philip Guarino (Supreme Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem)
  13. ^ Templar History (Ordre Souverain et Militaire du Temple de Jérusalem)
  14. ^ The Aldo Moro Murder Case by Richard Drake (Harvard University Press, 1995) ISBN 9780674014817
  15. ^ Bellant, Russ (1991). Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party. South End Press. ISBN 9780896084186.
  16. ^ a b c G.H.W. Bush Used Nazi-Collaborators to Get Elected by Russ Bellant p. 41
  17. ^ Puppetmasters: The Political Use of Terrorism in Italy by Philip Willan (iUniverse, 2002) p. 67 ISBN 9781469710846
  18. ^ Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party by Russ Bellant (South End Press, 1991) p. 124 ISBN 9780896084186