Iowa House Speaker Pro-Tem Jeff Kaufmann (R), who worked as a county chairman on FAMiLY LEADER head Bob Vander Plaats’ failed gubernatorial campaign, e-mailed Vander Plaats and the organization’s other leaders to tell them that the pledge had “ridiculous implications” and that they would soon have “no impact” in the state, the Des Moines Register reported today:
“Guys your integrity is in question and your political credibility is waning to the point of no impact,” Kaufmann said in a July 13 email to Vander Plaats, Danny Carroll and Chuck Hurley, who are all part of The Family Leader and IowaFamilyPolicyCenter’s efforts to eliminate same-sex marriage rights.
Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY LEADER have been criticized repeatedly over the extreme anti-gay pledge, which also contained a bizarre reference to slavery that was dropped after the organization came under criticism. Only Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) signed the pledge, which the FAMiLY LEADER said was imperative for receiving its endorsement. The other candidates, meanwhile, spoke out against it, and former Gov. Gary Johnson (R-NM) called it a “promise to discriminate.”
Iowa GOP activists slammed the pledge as a “distraction” last week, while Vander Plaats and the FAMiLY LEADER claimed it was misconstrued and blamed ThinkProgress for drumming up a false controversy. Vander Plaats was also caught on camera laughing at an anti-gay joke, and Blue Bunny, a company with close connections to Vander Plaats, distanced itself from the organization.
Now, Vander Plaats is being rebuked by a former employee in Kaufmann, who also told Vander Plaats to back off his threats to primary Iowa Republicans who did not support his organization. “Keep your primary threats to yourself,” Kauffman wrote. “You have to have respect to carry out a threat in this great state.”