September 14th, 2011
The Iowa Straw Poll coordinator for GOP Presidential Candidate Herman Cain alleges that the campaign tried to cover up the role of a top adviser who had been ousted as the leader of a gay pride group in Wisconsin amid financial scandal. The Associated Press reports that the coordinator, Kevin Hall, made the allegation in a letter while applying for unemployment benefits and in testimony during a hearing last week.
Hall alleged that the campaign sought to cover up the role of Scott Toomey, senior adviser and treasurer of Cains’ PAC once Toomey’s sexual orientation became known, along with his role as treasurer for Madison Pride Board. In 2008, Madison Pride removed Toomey after discovering that bills weren’t being paid along with other “financial discrepancies.” The group folded after a downsized 2008 Pride.
On June 6, Cain said he would have no problem appointing a gay While House staff member as long as the individual was qualified. Cain supporters pointed to Toomey as an example. But Hall alleges that on July 9, campaign staff was told that Toomey was no longer involved in the campaign in any capacity, but Hall said he learned weeks later that Toomey was still “very much involved” as an outside consultant. Hall claims that this exposes Cain to charges of hypocrisy. Here’s his reasoning:
“A conservative candidate, Mr. Cain is on the record as stating that he believes homosexuality is a sin and a choice. And they know that, if his top adviser, his highly paid adviser, is openly gay that it would cast a negative light on Mr. Cain and would cost him in his efforts to become president,” he testified. “Basically the campaign was trying to cover up the fact that Mr. Toomey was still involved. They asked … me to help them cover up that fact.”
Whatever religious reservations Cain may have about gay people, he did say he would have no problem appointing a qualified gay person to his White House staff. It seems that the fact that he has appointed Toomey, first as treasurer and later as an outside consultant, is in line with his June 6 statement. Toomey’s actual qualifications, of course, are subject to debate.
However, on the other hand, Cain’s decision to try to hide Toomey’s role in the campaign would appear to contradict his July 6 statement if his decision to do so were based on fears of fallout from having a gay person on staff. That would indicate that Cain would, in fact, have a problem with a gay person on his staff. And that would be hypocrisy, although I don’t believe it’s the kind of perceived hypocrisy that Hall’s concerned about. What Hall sees as hypocritical and what I see as hypocritical are two very different things.
Either way, instructing staff to say something to the press which they later discover not to be true could, I suppose, negatively impact the staffer’s future employment prospects. That is, if one were to expect campaign staffers to always be truthful.
All of this is came out when Hall petitioned for unemployment benefits, which are not granted to those who resign their jobs voluntarily. And it’s an attempt that was ultimately successful. Hall claimed that he had no choice in resigning, and Administrative Law Judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer agreed with that reasoning:
Hendricksmeyer ruled Hall resigned “due to a change in the contract of hire” and said the alleged cover-up could have damaged his career as a political consultant.
“The presence of the gay person on the campaign was misrepresented to the staff, which caused Mr. Hall and others to inadvertently misrepresent the fact to others,” Hendricksmeyer wrote. “(Hall’s) credibility and his future job prospects would have suffered. It is possible if the situation had been discovered it would have also created a negative impact on (Hall’s) job duties. He felt it was possible the candidate would lose credibility and the straw poll results would be very poor.”
Cain’s campaign did not dispute Hall’s allegations in court.
This incident however does appear to shed light on an exodus of campaign staffers in July in which many of them were accusing each other of affairs, homosexuality and professional misconduct. Hall and others resigned just before Iowa’s critical Straw Poll, in which Cain came in a distant fifth.
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Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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