Senate

ICYMI: Hartzler & Hawley Donors “Cover[ed] Up” Child Sex Abuse

A new report from Heartland Signal uncovers that Missouri Republican U.S. Senate candidate Vicky Hartzler and 2024 presidential hopeful Sen. Josh Hawley received thousands of dollars in campaign donations from summer camp owners “accused of covering up child sex abuse.”

According to Heartland SignalHawley “received the maximum individual donation allowed” from Joe White, who “runs Kanakuk Kamps, a collection of Christian summer camps near Branson, Mo.” White “has been accused of attempting to cover up rampant sexual abuse of children attending his camps during the 1990s and early 2000s.”

Meanwhile, Hartzler — Hawley’s “pick to fill Roy Blunt’s soon to be vacant seat” — “received a total of $5,000 from Debbie-Jo White, listed by the FEC as a camp director for Kanankuk Ministries.”

On the campaign trail, Hartzler and Hawley have portrayed themselves as crusaders “in search of justice for the victims of child predators.” In reality, each is filling their campaign coffers with money from individuals who covered up the “rampant sexual abuse” of “57 young boys in the camps and on camp-sponsored trips.”

According to Heartland Signal, “Neither Hawley’s nor Hartzler’s offices responded to emailed requests for comment.”

Heartland Signal: Hawley, Hartzler campaigns accept donations from summer camp owner linked to sex abuse

By Zach Cunning | May 18, 2022

Key Points:

  • “Last month, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called child exploitation and sex trafficking an ‘exploding epidemic’ in Missouri and around the country. Last year, he received the maximum individual donation allowed from a man accused of covering up child sex abuse.”
  • “Joe White runs Kanakuk Kamps, a collection of Christian summer camps near Branson, Mo. He has been accused of attempting to cover up rampant sexual abuse of children attending his camps during the 1990s and early 2000s.”
  • “The accusations found broad public attention after a 5,000-word investigative article by David and Nancy French, published on The Dispatch — a conservative-leaning online news magazine — last year.”
  • “The authors, in at times graphic detail, told the story of Pete Newman, one of Kanakuk Kamps’ directors from 1995 until 2009. During his tenure, he groomed and sexually abused, by his own admission, at least 57 young boys in the camps and on camp-sponsored trips.”
  • “Newman is currently serving a double life sentence, plus 30 years, for his crimes. The prosecutor on his case estimated the real number could be in the hundreds, the authors said.
  • “As previously reported by Heartland Signal, Hawley spent a good portion of Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination hearings casting himself as a crusader in search of justice for the victims of child predators, regularly accusing Jackson of leniency on their cases.”
  • “Last year, Hawley received a total of $5,800 from Joe White according to Federal Elections Commission data. His pick to fill Roy Blunt’s soon to be vacant seat, U.S. Rep. Vicki Hartzler, received a total of $5,000 from Debbie-Jo White, listed by the FEC as a camp director for Kanankuk Ministries.”
  • “Neither Hawley’s nor Hartzler’s offices responded to emailed requests for comment. Connor Lounsbury, deputy campaign manager for Lucas Kunce – who’s running on the Democrat ticket for Roy Blunt’s seat – said, ‘Nobody in Missouri is surprised that Vicky Hartzler’s piety doesn’t extend to her own damn campaign coffers … These donors literally are part of an institution that sexually abused multiple young boys. Mitch McConnell’s pick in this race has chosen money over Missouri values. Classic.’”

Read the full story here.

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