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Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain has come under fire by allegations that his campaign tried to conceal the role of one of his campaign staffers.
The issue revolves around Scott Toomey; he served as treasurer of Cain’s political action committee and is one on Cain’s top senior political advisors. It was revealed that Toomey was released from his former position of treasurer at Madison Pride Board because of financial discrepancies — he was released in 2008 after Madison Pride became aware that bills from an event they hosted in 2007 had not been paid.
It was also revealed that Toomey is the leader of a gay pride group in Wisconsin, an issue that is viewed negatively in conservative circles. Cain has previously stated that his belief is that homosexuality is a choice and following through with that choice is to commit a sin.
With Toomey on staff, an openly gay man in an influential position, charges of hypocrisy would run rampant and diminish Cain’s chances of becoming president. Thus, the need to cover up the situation presented itself, and aides were brought on board to ensure a harmonious story was told if anyone asked about Toomey.
These alleged actions only became public knowledge after Kevin Hall, Cain’s former Iowa straw poll coordinator, applied for unemployment benefits and in his testimony revealed the situation. Hall applied for resignation only after Cain’s campaign tried to get him involved in the alleged cover up.
In Hall’s testimony he stated, “That on June 9 his second day on the job, campaign spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael told the staff that Toomey was no longer involved in the campaign in any capacity and they should tell that to anyone who asked.
Hall said he learned weeks later that Toomey was still very much involved as an outside consultant despite what he and others had been telling the media and supporters.” Hall also testified that, “Campaign manager Mark Block told him June 29 the campaign would conceal Toomey’s continued employment by paying his newly-formed consulting firm so his name would not show up in disclosure filings.”
Filings with the Federal Election Commission show Toomey, of Chicago, received his last salary from the campaign on June 13. The Soarin’ Group, which Hall testified was Toomey’s firm, started receiving payments the same month. Hall’s allegations can be partially confirmed by Steve Starkey, a Madison gay rights activist who knew Toomey.
Starkey has been quoted for saying, “It was in the papers that he [Toomey] was the person responsible for that financial mess.” Starkly goes on to say “Toomey moved to Florida and went underground after the scandal. My research later found that Toomey’s promotional company also had been accused in court of not paying vendors.”
Court records show that Toomey filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and reported more than $20,000 in pending legal judgments against him from companies and a credit union.
With the hiring of Toomey, Cain may have taken several missteps that will damage his chances of the republican presidential nomination — not because of Toomey’s questionable financial past or sexual orientation, but because of Cain’s alleged involvement in covering up Toomey’s association with his campaign. During the hearing, a lawyer for Cain’s campaign did not dispute any of the allegations set forth by Hall.
Without dispute, this allowed Judge Bonny Hendricksmeyer to award unemployment benefits to Hall, ruling that Hall only resigned after being approached to participate in the cover up.