BISMARCK– Hoping to win a Senate seat, current Congressman Kevin Cramer has thrown in his hat with an extremist hate group peddling conspiracy theories by seeking the group’s endorsement and financial backing.
Cramer signed a Senate candidate survey by the Public Advocate of the United States on May 20, answering yes to questions such as: “Will you oppose the Gay Bill of Special Rights, misnamed the ‘Equality Act?’” and “Should federally funded public schools be required to teach scientifically-proven biological genders?” and “Should public schools be prevented from brainwashing elementary school children with the Homosexual Agenda – ?”
Other questions Cramer answered yes to can be found here.
Cramer is not the only Republican seeking the group’s endorsement.
Corey Stewart, who is running for the U.S. Senate in Virginia, is known for attacking illegal immigrants and embracing Confederate emblems. He was also the former chairperson for Trump’s campaign in 2016 and was fired after he organized a demonstration at Republic National Headquarters in Washington, D.C., according to media reports. Stewart has also been accused of supporting white nationalists, of being an anti-Semite, and racist.
Public Advocate of the United States, a nonprofit founded in 1978 by Eugene Delgaudio, according to tax records, is known as a fear mongering, extreme anti-gay hate group that believes in banning gay marriage and that schools are brainwashing children. The group promotes agendas that the Supreme Court is attacking Christians, according to its website. In addition, it is also anti abortion, and lobbies to reduce government funding for special interests or social causes.
In 2017, the group gave $10,100 to Roy Moore, according to Open Secrets, Center for Responsive Politics. Moore was the former chief justice of the Supreme Court in Alabama who strove to fill a state’s Senatorial seat until he was voted down after sexual misconduct with minors allegations arose.
In 2016, the Public Advocate of the United States declared $1.56 million while in 2015 $1.5 million in total revenues.
Since at least 2012, Delgaudio has come under fire for sketchy fundraising techniques and for forging photographs for propaganda purposes. His group was officially named a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, in March the same year. Delgaudio also believes in conspiracy theories such as lizard people, the far-right “pizzagate,” and that former President Barack Obama was a child molester.
Delgaudio represents the Public Advocate of the United States through a company he owns called Eugene Delgaudio & Associates, Inc., and received a salary as a contractor of $164,026, according to the group’s 2016 tax records.
Whether or not Cramer has received the group's financial backing, the Public Advocate of the United States has already begun campaigning for his run for the US Senate.
On Friday, Chris Sgro, the director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest civil rights organization working on LGBTQ issues, condemned Cramer for not working on the Farm Bill and seeking support from a hate group.
“They’re a radical hate group,” Sgro said. “They want to overturn marriage equality. They compare being gay and transgender to pedophilia. They have supported the dangerous, debunked practice of so-called conversion therapy, which, which science has proven does not work. They’re- This is not a mainstream organization we’re talking about here, Joel. This is a group that stands ready to attack not just gay and transgender people, but really commonsense values, North Dakota values.”
The North Dakota Democratic-NPL also condemned Cramer’s actions and the organization he affiliates with.
“North Dakotans are not a hateful people and seeking out and accepting the backing of an extreme hate group is unacceptable,” Executive Director of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Scott McNeil said in a press release.
“Kevin Cramer must apologize for doing so and immediately disavow the group’s endorsement and financial backing. Kevin Cramer has a responsibility to demonstrate that he represents all North Dakotans, not just some. Marriage equality is the law of the land, and it’s extremely disturbing that Cramer vowed to actively work to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision and take away the freedom of North Dakotans.
“It’s also very troubling that Cramer would associate himself with a group that promotes violent conspiracy theories and downright offensive lies.”
"Heidi believes every North Dakotan should be treated with dignity and respect," Sean Higgins, press secretary for Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Cramer's opponent in the Senate race, said. "Kevin Cramer's embrace of this radical group shows yet again that he's more interested in pursuing an extreme agenda rather than getting real results for hardworking North Dakotans."
So far this election cycle, Cramer has received a total of $1,427,333, according to Open Secrets, with energy, oil, utility companies donating the most. Energy Transfer Equity, affiliated with Energy Transfer Partners – the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline – takes the top spot with a donation of $58,000, according to Open Secrets.
Cramer has also publicly defended former Republican Secretary of State candidate Will Gardner after discovery was made that he pleaded guilty to public disorder after peeping through girl dorm windows at North Dakota State University with his pants unzipped and shirt untucked. Although Gardner officially dropped out of the race this week, he received in excess of 54,000 votes across the state during the June 12 primaries.
Cramer’s office was contacted for comment, but no statement was received.
[Additions were made to this story after the Human Rights Campaign spoke out against Cramer's actions.]
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