A young rising star with a troubled past is taking allegations from a highly controversial Iowa “pro-family” Christian group to conduct a “witch hunt” against an anti-bullying LGBTQ organizationÂ â€“ on the eve of that group’s annual fundraising dinner.
Bob Vander Plaats heads a vociferously anti-gay “pro-family” group in Iowa, the Family Leader. He’s managed to gain power and influence by attacking everything LGBTQ, from same-sex marriage to pro-equality presidential candidates, and now, a respected group that works to end anti-LGBTQ student bullying and LGBTQ youth and teen suicide.
Back in April, Vander Plaats published a long list of allegationsÂ supposedly detailing some of the events that took place at theÂ Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, includingÂ speakers highlighting “horror stories of how outcast they felt as kids.”
“They told stories of ‘coming out’ and finding homosexual relationships. They reinforced the narrative that the world ‘hates,’ but the homosexual community accepts. They repeatedly affirmed that itâ€™s OK to be gay.”
But Vander Plaats also charges “a drag performer named Coco Peru… delivered an expletive-laden presentation,” and this:
One speaker wore a dress made of condoms, so they could be easily detached and â€œused as needed.â€
Another told a rousing story of how he used social media to find friends and accidentally stumbled into an orgy.
Enter GOP rising star Bobby Kaufmann, whose father is the Chairman of theÂ Republican Party of Iowa and aÂ former Republican House Speaker Pro Tem.Â Despite being just 29 and just a two-termÂ State Representative holding the very seat his father once did, Bobby KaufmannÂ is already chairman of the powerful Government Oversight Committee.
Kaufmann has received financial support from GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul, who even came to Iowa to headline a fundraiser for Kaufmann, although KaufmannÂ recently endorsed Marco Rubio for president. He does not support same-sex marriage although in 2012 actually said, “I believe the voters should have an opportunity to vote on the definition of marriage. That being said, one of my best friends is gay and my aunt is a lesbian.”
Now, Kaufmann has partnered with Vander Plaats and announced this week he will hold an investigation into theÂ Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, despite the fact that the group is not associated with the governor’s office and does not receive state funds. His basis for the investigation? Bob Vander Plaats and the allegations he made after sending someone undercover to spy on the conference’s activities.
A claim some public schools used school busses to transport students to the group’s event back in April.
As Slate’sÂ Mark Joseph Stern writes, “Republicans want to shut it down…Â alleging the most recent gathering contained ‘obscene material.'”
What â€œobscene materialâ€ is Kaufmann describing? A breakout session at which social justice advocate Sam Killermann and adolescent sexuality expert Dr. Karen Rayne discussed sexual health. In 2015, extremist anti-gay fringe group theÂ FAMiLY LEADERÂ sent an undercover operative to monitor the session and reported that, during the Q&A, Rayne actuallyÂ answered studentsâ€™ questions about sex.Â Her session is hardly the focus on the conference. But Kaufmann has seized upon it as a justification to investigate and possibly terminate the conference, now in its 11thÂ year. (Students who attendedÂ vigorously denyÂ Kaufmannâ€™s claims.)Â
Raw StoryÂ notes “Iowa Safe Schools executive director Nate Monson said Kaufmannâ€™s investigation, which will include a Nov. 18 committee hearing, amounted to a ‘witch hunt’ that the legislator has organized solely to shut the conference down.”
What’s equally disgusting is the timing of Kaufmann’s attack this week, and the announcement he will next month hold hearings into the Iowa Governors Conference on LGBTQ Youth, which is organized and hosted by Iowa Safe Schools.
Tonight, Iowa Safe Schools holds their annual fundraising dinner, theÂ Iowa Spirit Awards in Des Moines, featuring keynote speakerÂ former Maryland Gov. Martin Oâ€™Malley, a current Democratic presidential candidate.
Here’s a report from local news station KCCI:
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Florida Christian School Warns Parents All LGBTQ Students ‘Will Be Asked to Leave Immediately’
Citing the Book of Leviticus a Florida K-12 private Christian school is telling parents any student found to be LGBTQ will be asked to leave “immediately.”
NBC News reports it “obtained an email from the Grace Christian School in Valrico, about 20 miles east of Tampa, sent before the beginning of the school year by Administrator Barry McKeen.”
The school’s email lumps being LGBTQ, or engaging in acts including “bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography” as “lifestyles.”
“We believe that any form of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender identity/lifestyle, self-identification, bestiality, incest, fornication, adultery and pornography are sinful in the sight of God and the church (Genesis 2:24; Leviticus 18:1-30; Romans 1:26-29; I Corinthians 5:1; I Corinthians 6:9; I Thessalonians 4:2-7),” the email reads. “Students who are found participating in these lifestyles will be asked to leave the school immediately,”
NBC News says the “June 6 correspondence to parents cited scripture and said that students will be referred to by the ‘gender on their birth certificates’ during the school year beginning this month. While the email refers to ‘biological gender,’ the National Institute of Health defines ‘gender’ as a social construct, as opposed to ‘sex,’ which is the biological difference between females and males.”
On its website Grace Christian says annual fees are up to $6595, plus items including books and other fees.
“It is our desire to provide the best Christian education and training for ALL children, for God is not a respecter of persons,” Grace Christian says. It calls “humanism, materialism, secularism, and New Age” philosophies “godless.”
The school’s website also says, “Students are only admitted when the administration believes that the parents and their church are in full support of the purposes and policies of the School. Expressions of dissention or lack of support for the School’s mission, policies, or leadership are grounds for dismissal of any students of a family in which such action occurs.”
“ALL STUDENTS are expected to abide by rules set forth by the administration. Attendance at Grace Christian School is considered a privilege and not a right. Students forfeit this privilege if they do not conform to the standards and ideals set forth by the administration. The school may insist on the withdrawal of any student that, in the opinion of the administration, does not conform to the spirit of the ministry.”
Watch: McConnell Blasts GOP ‘Candidate Quality’ as He Admits Democrats Likely to Keep Senate
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell made a surprising admission Thursday: the GOP’s candidates running for Senate may not be good enough for Republicans to take control of the chamber he once led as Majority Leader.
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate,” McConnell responded when asked at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon about his projections for the upcoming November elections, as NBC News reported.
“Senate races are just different,” he explained. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
“Right now, we have a 50-50 Senate and a 50-50 country, but I think when all is said and done this fall, we’re likely to have an extremely close Senate, either our side up slightly or their side up slightly,” McConnell added, wrongly.
The country is not 50-50.
According to a Gallup poll conducted over a three week period in July, 28% of Americans identify as Republican, 29% as Democratic, and 41% as independent.
Thanks in large part to Donald Trump, “candidate quality” is definitely a challenge for the GOP.
There are 35 Senate seats up for (re)election in November, 14 are held by Democrats and 21 by Republicans. Possibly sensing the headwinds five GOP Senators and just one Democratic Senator are not running for reelection and are retiring.
The GOP pulling cash out of races it may think its candidates cannot win.
“As midterm election campaigns heat up in the Senate’s top battlegrounds, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is canceling millions of dollars of ad spending, sending GOP campaigns and operatives into a panic and upending the committee’s initial spending plan,” Politico on Monday reported.
Meanwhile, FiveThirtyEight currently shows Democrats have a 64 in 100 chance of retaining the Senate, a number that’s been growing: On July 22 it was 50-50.
Watch Leader McConnell below or at this link:
“I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate … Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.”
— Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell does not sound too confident in Republicans’ ability to retake the Senate pic.twitter.com/XK8G451i01
— The Recount (@therecount) August 18, 2022
Herschel Walker Raked in Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars Giving Paid Speeches While a Candidate for Senate: Report
Like nearly every candidate for elected office, entrepreneur and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the Republican Party’s nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from Georgia, has been giving speeches since he announced his run for office. Unlike nearly every candidate for public office, Walker has been charging for those speeches.
Not entrance fees for an audience to hear him speak, but actual speaking fees, paid by lobbying groups and even non-profits like a Boys & Girls Club in Georgia.
And he’s racked up big money doing it as a declared candidate for elected office.
The fees he says on his disclosure form he’s received range from $12,000 to $60,000.
After having served as a U.S. Senator and then as a U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was flogged by Republicans for giving paid speeches after leaving the Obama administration, during the time she was a private citizen and far from declaring any intention to run for office.
But Walker is making money as a candidate for elected office, according to The Daily Beast’s Roger Sollenberg.
A lot of money.
“Herschel Walker—who has so far only agreed to participate in the one debate that provides topics in advance—has earned $569,000 in speaking fees since Jan. 2021,” Sollenberger reports, citing Walker’s financial disclosure.
“More than half” of that $569,000 “came after he launched his Senate campaign last August.”
That means Walker has raked in well over a quarter million dollars while a declared candidate for public office.
NCRM examined Walker’s annual SEC filing, dated August 15, 2022. It lists his declaration of candidacy for office as August 24, 2021.
In February of this year Walker was paid $60,000 by the University of North Texas for its Kuehne Speaker Series. Last year, before officially declaring as a candidate for office Walker was paid $35,000 by the All Sports Association, and $25,000 by the Boys & Girls Club of Gainesville, Georgia.
These payments and many others – 21 in total – are listed under the section titled “Honoraria Payments or Payments to Charity in Lieu of Honoraria.” The filing asks, “Did any individual or organization pay you or your spouse more than $200, or donate any amount to a charity on your or your spouse’s behalf, for an article, speech, or appearance?”
Walker answered “Yes.”
The filing asks, “Who received payment?” For each of the 21 entries Walker indicated “Self.”
Under “Activity,” each response was “Speech.”
There are many others.
Three days after officially declaring himself a candidate Walker was paid $35,000 by the Texas Bankers Association. A few days later $20,000 by the Georgia Realtors Association. $35,000 in October by the Baldwin County Community Drug Foundation.
In December of last year the Atlana Journal-Constitution reported Walker is “the richest man in Georgia Senate race.”
“U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker is worth somewhere between $29 million and $65 million, and he pulled down about $4 million in income from late 2020 through late 2021, according to financial disclosures he filed late Wednesday,” the paper reported.
“About $400,000 of his earnings were from speeches he delivered to over a dozen groups, including charities such as the Boys and Girls Club that paid him as much as $27,000,” the Journal-Constitution confirmed at the time.
Walker, who was the subject of great controversy after The Daily Beast revealed in a series of reports that Walker, despite criticizing Black men for being absent fathers, has three secret children, and says he lied to his own campaign about their existence. In addition to his adult son, a popular social media influencer. One of the three is an adult but the other two and young children.
Walker has also taken money for speaking to anti-abortion organizations.
“He was paid $20,000 in October to speak to the Mid City Women’s Clinic in Hurst, Texas, and $27,000 in November to speak to the Pregnant Choice medical group in Augusta. Both are among a network of clinics that seek to deter abortions.”
Image: Screenshot via Facebook
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