WASHINGTON, DC- The National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC) today called on House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to return the $2,400 campaign contribution he received from Nazi reenactor and former Republican House candidate Rich Iott [Washington Jewish Week, November 1, 2011]. NJDC President and CEO David A. Harris said:
“One year after campaigning on behalf of House candidate and Nazi reenactor Rich Iott, a report has surfaced indicating that Iott is a max-out donor to House Speaker John Boehner’s political action committee. Boehner—the most powerful Republican in America and the third person in the presidential succession line—owes American Jews and WWII veterans an explanation as to how he can continue to associate himself with Iott, given his widely-known disturbing behavior. As the Speaker of the House, Boehner has the responsibility to repudiate Iott’s behavior by returning the money or, better yet, donating it to a Holocaust charity. If he keeps the money, he will give Iott a pass—yet again—for his repugnant behavior, sending the message that Iott’s previous activities are acceptable. For American Jews, Boehner’s continued silence and inaction will demonstrate that the most powerful Republican in the country does not respect our community’s sensitivities.”
During the 2010 election, Iott’s involvement with Nazi reenactments surfaced and sparked condemnations from a broad spectrum of individuals and groups [The Atlantic, October 8, 2010]. However, then-aspiring House Speaker Boehner ignored calls to condemn Iott’s behavior and, instead, assisted his campaign [ABC News, October 29, 2010].
Boehner’s insistence on allying with Iott at the time and accepting his contributions now —in addition to the dismal Republican legislative agenda that he is spearheading—further demonstrates that the current Speaker of the House is not someone who represents the values of the mainstream American Jewish community.