Kari Lake, the Republican nominee for governor of Arizona, accepted hundreds of dollars in campaign contributions from eight people convicted of sexual misconduct, including rape, child molestation, and child pornography, according to a review of campaign finance records by the American Independent Foundation.
Lake accepted the contributions at the same time as her campaign was saying of her Democratic opponent, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, "Convicted sex offenders are coming into this country through our open southern border and @katiehobbs can't be bothered to care."
Lake accepted a total of $695 from convicted sex offenders, according to campaign finance records. She has meanwhile made bigoted attacks against the LGBTQ community and its allies, accusing them of "grooming" children as a way of enabling them to abuse them, using a recent Republican scare word deployed against anyone who disagrees with their anti-LGBTQ efforts.
Lake's campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether she'd be returning the hundreds of dollars she accepted from the convicted sex offenders.
The American Independent Foundation cross-checked the addresses listed in Lake's campaign finance records with addresses listed on the Arizona sex offender registry and found that the following registered sex offenders had donated to Lake's campaign:
- Roger Ludeman donated $100 to Lake, according to campaign finance records. Ludeman served 15 years in prison for attempted sexual conduct with a 7-year-old relative.
- Arthur Scholz donated $275 to Lake's campaign. Scholz was convicted of attempted molestation of a child.
- Harry Wroten donated $35 to Lake's campaign. In 2007, Wroten, who was at the time a school bus driver, was arrested and charged with one count of child molestation, according to local media. He was convicted of molestation of a child in 2008.
- Timothy Forrest gave $50 to Lake's campaign. In 2010, Forrest pleaded guilty to one count of of possession of child pornography, according to federal court filings. Forrest was arrested again in January for an undisclosed violation of his supervised release.
- Richard Quinn gave $50 to Lake's campaign. According to the registry, Quinn was convicted of "lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years" and "indecent liberties with a child."
- James Lamm, who according to the sex offender registry was convicted of child molestation, gave $10 to Lake's campaign.
- David Donan gave three donations totaling $105 to Lake's campaign. The sex offender registry says that Donan was convicted of "interstate travel to engage in sex acts with a child." In 2005, Donan unsuccessfully appealed his 87-month sentence to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that he had pleaded guilty to his crime and had "knowingly and voluntarily waived his right to appeal."
- Willard Bracken gave $10 to Lake's campaign. The Arizona sex offender registry says Bracken was convicted of sexual assault and molestation of a child.
Hobbs had held the lead in polling of the Arizona gubernatorial election for the majority of the race. However, Lake has opened up a 1.3 percent lead in recent days, according to the FiveThirtyEight polling average.
Inside Elections, the nonpartisan political handicapping outlet, rates the race a toss-up.
Reprinted with permission from American Independent.