Aw, jeeze. Here we go again. An up and coming conservative figure mired in a gay sex scandal… or not if you believe the denials, anyway. Some of you may be familiar with the Sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, one Paul Babeu. He recently made a name for himself criticizing the Obama administration for its abject failures over Operation Fast and Furious, the disastrous gun running program sponsored by the BATF that has been responsible for the deaths of several federal agents and hundreds of Mexican citizens.
The Phoenix New Times, an alternative newspaper, recently published a story alleging that Sheriff Babeu was once involved in a gay relationship with a Mexican named Jose.
This Jose fellow told the newspaper that he was threatened with deportation by Babeu’s attorney if the relationship was made public knowledge.
As soon as the story was published calls were made to Babeu for comment. Finally, on Saturday, the Sheriff announced he was resigning as the co-chair of Mitt Romney’s Arizona campaign, presumably to shield Romney from further controversy.
Babeu denied the claims made by the young man, but check out what he did not deny:
“I’m here to say that all of these accusations that are in one of these newspapers are absolutely false,” Babeu said outside his office, “except to the issues that refer to me as being gay.”
OK, so he is gay. Alrighty then.
Babeu made some charges of his own, too. He says that the young man in question committed identity theft on the Sheriff.
The sheriff said Saturday that the man was also a volunteer on his congressional campaign, and when their relationship failed, Babeu alleged the man took control of campaign social media and committed identity theft. Babeu said at the press conference that his attorney contacted the man, who contacted his own lawyer after feeling threatened by contact from Babeu and his attorney.
I don’t care one way or the other about the sheriff’s sexual proclivities, but it certainly is all making a mess of a man who was a rising new conservative.
It remains to be seen if this incident will negatively affect his campaign for congress.
Worse, his was one of the loudest voices hitting the Obama administration over F&F. Let’s hope that this little scandal doesn’t silence that voice.
(An earlier posting of this piece had an error saying Babeu denied knowing the young man. I have corrected my error.)