State Rep. Bobby Kaufmann Jokingly Denies Being In ‘Homosexual Relationship’ With Colleague
An anti-gay Iowa lawmaker is sick of reading about how anti-gay he is on â€œblogs.â€Â
As we reported last week, GOP state Rep. Bobby Kaufmann has launched an investigation into the annual Governorâ€™s Conference on LGBTQ Youth, in response to allegations from Bob Vaander Plaats‘Â anti-gay Family Leader group that the event included inappropriate content last year.Â
In an apparent effort to ensure the investigation is biased, Kaufmann has appointed Republican Rep. Greg Heartsill, an outspoken critic of the conference, to a two-person committee charged with investigating the allegations.Â
Supporters of the conference, put on by the nonprofit Iowa Safe Schools, have characterized the investigation as a witch hunt and political stunt. They note that because the conference isn’t funded by taxpayers, lawmakers don’t have the authority to regulate it.Â
Nevertheless, a committee held its first hearing Wednesday, and Kaufmann lashed out at people whoâ€™ve criticized him for the investigation via email and on social media, including one who apparently accused him of being Heartsillâ€™s lover, according to The Des Moines Register.Â
â€œI am here to announce that Rep. Heartsill and I are not in a homosexual relationship,â€ Kaufmann said, apparently joking. â€œI am getting sick of reading all the crap that is on the blogs.â€
Democratic state Rep. Mary Wolfe responded that putting up with criticism isÂ part of being aÂ legislator, and Nate Monson, executive director of Iowa Safe Schools, took offense to the implication that being in a gay relationship would be a bad thing.Â
â€œThat was just really painful to hear because LGBTQ kids are made fun of constantly and I would expect more from our legislators,â€ Monson said.
Of course, if Kaufman is tired of reading about the investigation, the obvious solution would be for him to call it off, but it doesnâ€™t sound like thatâ€™s going to happen.Â
â€œI donâ€™t care if 20 millionÂ people write us letters saying that this conference is the best thing since sliced bread, I am not going to say that this is OK,â€ Kaufmann said during Wednesdayâ€™s hearing.
On the other hand, a letter criticizing the conference has become Exhibit A in the investigation.Â
Heartsill read the letter during the hearing from Jamie Ehlert, a teacher at West Des Moines Valley High School who attended the conference and claims to be an LGBT ally.Â
â€œWe take these allegations very seriously,â€ Heartsill said. â€œThere is no reason to question the credibility and truthfulness of this statement.â€
According to a copy of her letter provided to The New Civil Rights Movement by Monson, Ehlert wrote that her anti-bullying group wonâ€™t be attending the conference this year, due to â€œextremely vulgar language and X-rated materialâ€ at last yearâ€™s event. She specifically objected to two presentations featuring comedian and LGBT ally Sam Killermann, during which he answered questions related to sexual health that were submitted via social media.
Ehlert said KillermannÂ gave information about finding â€œorgiesâ€ and porn on the Internet, as well as how to safely practice bondage. She also took issue with a closing presentation from drag queen Coco Peru, who allegedly sang about how “the bullies should be poisoned and fucking die.â€Â
In a letter responding to Ehlert’s concerns, Monson wrote that Iowa Safe Schools doesn’t intend to alter the content of the conference, now in its 11th year. Â
â€œI am sorry to hear an anti-bully group is missing the purpose of this important event for LGBTQ students and their families,” Monson wrote, adding that an LGBTQ teen takes his or her life every five hours in the US. â€œThis is due to isolation and discrimination they face on an ongoing basis. This Conference continues to serve as the one place these students can go to feel supported.â€Â
Killermann also responded to Ehlert’s concerns in an interview with KCCI-TV.Â
â€œAnything sex education and providing information on sexual health, any answer can be twisted and turned into something salacious. That is what is happening here,â€ Killermann said. â€œWhat we were doing was responding to kids’ questions that they donâ€™t get to ask people typically.â€
Wolfe, the Democratic lawmaker, questioned the point of the investigation given that Kaufmann has said it’s not his intent to shut down the conference.Â
â€œI donâ€™t understand why we are doing thisÂ and I donâ€™t understand what the end game is,â€ Wolfe said. â€œIâ€™m also sure we can get hundreds, if not thousands, of letters from people who have attended this presentation, and itâ€™s saved their lives it meant so much to them.”Â
Monson told The Des Moines Register that the investigation has only served to exacerbate the underlying problem.Â
“After this conferenceÂ and after this investigation started, we received numerous emails very threatening and very intimidating, probably hundreds of them, that were very disgusting and very disturbing,â€ Monson said. â€œSo our concern is safety of students and I hope that Rep. Kaufmann will understand that has just simply sensationalizedÂ this conference and is putting LGBTQ youth at risk.â€
The committee reportedly plans to continue its investigation by calling Monson to testify in a few weeks.Â
Meanwhile, Iowa GOP Gov.Â Terry Branstad has left out funds for a bullying prevention office in his budget recommendations for the coming year.Â
This article has been updated to reflect SamÂ KillermannÂ is an LGBT ally, not LGBT
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Former US Attorney Calls for ‘Full Investigation’ After Report Secret Service Failed to Share Threat Against Pelosi
A former U.S. Attorney is calling for a full investigation into the U.S. Secret Service’s failure to share intelligence it had detailing a violent threat against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats.
“This is deeply disturbing,” says Joyce Vance, who is now a law professor and MSNBC/NBC News legal analyst. She says it “requires a full investigation.”
“The Capitol Police are responsible for protecting the Speaker,” Vance continues. “If true” that the U.S. Secret Service “failed to pass on intelligence about threats, that’s very alarming.”
Vance points to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) that finds the Secret Service discovered a violent social media based threat on January 4, 2021, two days before the insurrection, but did not share that intelligence with the Capitol Police until nearly 6 PM ET on January 6.
The U.S. Secret Service is an agency under the Dept. of Homeland Security. The DHS Inspector General, Joseph Cuffari, is under investigation by two powerful House Committee chairs who on Tuesday accused him of “obstruction.”
In a separate report CREW reveals that “days before the January 6 attack on the Capitol, documents exchanged between the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies outlined ‘threats of violence’ on the 6th, coming ‘predominantly from right wing groups’ with ‘plans to bring weapons into the District,’ according to documents obtained by CREW. The Secret Service knew that Trump’s supporters would be demonstrating around Freedom Plaza and the Capitol with the intent to cause violence, but the agency does not appear to have taken the threat seriously.”
“While the Secret Service downplayed threats posed by right-wing extremist groups and Trump’s supporters leading up to January 6, the newly obtained documents reveal just how grave and explicit the threats had actually been,” CREW alleges.
Image via Shutterstock
Secret Service Held Onto Violent Jan. 6 Threat Against Pelosi, Watchdog Says
Two days before the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of Donald Trump the U.S. Secret Service discovered a “series of violent threats” made on social media, including against Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, but did not pass them on to the Capitol Police until the evening of January 6 – after the violence of the insurrection had ended, a watchdog reports.
“On January 4, Secret Service agents discovered a Parler account, which we’ve chosen not to name, posting a series of violent threats towards lawmakers. Other profiles with the same name appeared on Twitter, MeWe, Bitchute, Youtube and Facebook,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) reveals.
“On December 31, the account posted, ‘January 6 starts #1776 all over again…Fight for EVERYTHING’ and listed ‘Enemies,’ including Pelosi. At 5:55 pm on January 6, after hours of defending the United States Capitol from a violent mob, the United States Capitol Police received the post along with a message from the Secret Service.”
“The language used by the account, as we’ve now seen repeated in recordings released by the January 6th Committee, is a clear call for a violent overthrow of the American government on January 6, 2021,” CREW adds.
The Secret Service found what CREW calls other “troubling” posts tied to that account.
“Biden will die shortly after being elected,” the account posted on January 2, four days before the insurrection. “Patriots are gonna tear his head off. Prison is his best case scenario.”
“We’re all on a mission to save America. Lone wolf attacks are the way to go,” read a Jan. 3 post. “Stay anonymous. Stay alive. Guns up Patriots!!”
CREW takes the Secret Service to task.
“In the past month, we’ve learned that the Secret Service failed to prepare for violence on January 6 despite receiving explicit warnings, then deleted key evidence from the day, likely breaking the law,” the nonpartisan watchdog reports, presumably referring to the deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. “The delay in notifying Capitol Police about the threat to the Speaker of the House only adds to the impression that the agency failed to do its job, and leads to more questions. Why did the agency wait two days, until after the Capitol had been breached and Congressional leaders were in hiding to pass it along?”
Watch: Pence Says He Would ‘Consider’ Appearing Before J6 Committee if Offered ‘Invitation’ to ‘Participate’
Former Vice President Mike Pence, asked if he would testify before the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack, said if invited he would “consider” participating.
“If there’s an invitation to participate, I would consider it,” Pence said Wednesday morning at a political event in New Hampshire, a state presidential hopefuls visit early and often. “It would be unprecedented in history for a vice president to be summoned to testify on Capitol Hill, but as I’ve said, I don’t want to prejudge.”
In fact, as NBC News producer Frank Thorp V noted, “It would not, actually, be unprecedented for a VP to testify on Capitol Hill.”
Pence, as he often does, tried to frame his remarks in a historic context.
“Under the Constitution, we have three coequal branches of government, and um, any invitation that’d be directed to me, I’d have to reflect on the unique role I was serving in as Vice President.”
Thorp notes that “Vice President Schuyler Colfax testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the Credit Mobilier on January 7, 1873, which was while he was in office.” He also points out that President Abraham Lincoln and President Woodrow Wilson testified before Congress.
Politico’s Kyle Cheney adds that “many” of Pence’s “former top aides have testified at length, presumably with his blessing.”
Pointing to the video below, law professor and CNN contributor Steve Vladeck noted Wednesday morning that “Former Vice President Ford testified before Congress in October 1974 … while he was PRESIDENT.” He also notes that “former Presidents (to say nothing of former VPs) have testified before Congress *sixteen* times.”
NBC News presidential historian Michael Beschloss says the former vice president “needs to testify fully under oath before the House January 6 Committee — and he must not take the Fifth.”
Watch Pence below or at this link:
Former Vice President Mike Pence when asked if he would cooperate if the January 6th committee called on him to testify:
“If there was an invitation to participate, I would consider it.” pic.twitter.com/y9NFrHwYtf
— The Recount (@therecount) August 17, 2022
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