Benjamin Thomas Wolf is a candidate for Illinois’ 5th congressional district. He has made legalizing cannabis and banning guns two of his central campaign promises and he’s also become the first congressional candidate to ever advertise on porn sites. Today Politico reports Wolf’s colorful past also includes allegations of domestic abuse:
Katarina Coates, a former girlfriend who interned for his campaign, told POLITICO that Wolf was frequently physically and emotionally abusive, and “doxxed” her by revealing her name and home address on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
“He actually hit me, threw me to the ground, put his foot on my chest. He was really angry. He grabbed my face,” said Coates, who described at least six incidents of physical abuse. “I thought it was normal. I cannot explain the logic. It seemed like he cared about me when he did that. After that time he stood on my chest, he went and took me for chocolate cake. I kind of associated it with his caring…There were times I would ask him: ‘do you ever regret hitting me?’ He would say: “No, but I’m relieved when you put your head down so I don’t have to do it again.”
Coates said she did not file a police report documenting the allegations of abuse. Instead, she said, Wolf filed police reports against her.
But Coates did reach out over a period of three months in 2017 to several institutions where she made her allegations of relationship violence, according to emails reviewed by POLITICO. Coates was in contact with Title IX officers at both DePaul University, where she was a student, and Roosevelt University, where Wolf has said he was an adjunct professor and where Coates filed a formal Title IX complaint.
Another woman who dated Wolf said he was never violent with her but confirmed that he was prone to lashing out and that his behavior seemed to escalate when he was upset:
Kari Fitzgerald, who dated Wolf about four years ago, said he was not violent with her but had a volatile personality.
“When he thinks he’s been wronged or threatened in any way he lashes out … It’s definitely a situation where he’s escalating. There’s abusive, escalating behavior he’s demonstrating,” she said.
Wolf has denied the allegations and claims he filed a police report against Coates after she harassed him. He also claims the allegations against him are politically motivated. “I walk around this city with a black leather jacket and leather boots and this city is scared of me,” he told Politico. But the author of the piece says she has already heard from two more women with stories of physical abuse involving Wolf:
Actually, the accuser is incredibly brave and helped expose what appears to be a lengthy history from a candidate running for Congress. This story has been up for less than an hour. I've already heard from two more women with stories of physical abuse.
— natasha korecki (@natashakorecki) March 7, 2018
Wolf was also criticized today for some misleading claims about his biography. From the Chicago Tribune:
In a news release last week, the Wolf campaign identified him as a “former FBI agent.”
But the news release and articles got one detail wrong: Wolf was never an FBI agent.
The Tribune found some problems with the Wolf campaign’s assertions. He wrote an endorsement from a former associate to use in a campaign web page without the associate’s approval, Wolf told the Tribune. Although Wolf has never outright claimed to have served in the military, his campaign has used words and phrases that seem to imply he did, tweeting that Wolf “served multiple tours” in Iraq.
In interviews with the Tribune this week, Wolf said he has never identified himself as an FBI agent and downplayed the difference between his support role and FBI agent. He also said he’s never implied he served in the military and when he’s talked about being “overseas” or “on tour,” he was referring to his time with the State Department.
“People are caught up in minor details,” Wolf said. “I don’t care.”
“I don’t care,” is exactly the response I’d expect from a guy who has made smoking weed the cornerstone of his campaign. Another little detail Wolf may have missed involves the campaign ad he shot last month in his apartment featuring an AR-15. Last week he told the Chicago Sun-Times that the gun in the ad, which isn’t legal in Chicago, belonged to a friend:
He took a stance for banning access to assault rifles with a video ad in which he sat in his apartment holding an AR-15. Quigley also supports reinstating the Assault Weapons Ban and expanding background checks.
“You’re not supposed to have those in city limits, it’s a friend of mine’s,” Wolf said of the rifle prop.
But when he spoke to Politico, he changed his story, saying the gun was his:
“In the ad, it’s in my living room. That’s my living room, that’s my AR-15,” he told POLITICO. “It’s the same model; basically the same model I carried in Iraq. … I thought we needed to send a strong message to people, I am an expert in this weapon, I’ve been trained on this weapons for years. There is no place for these weapons in modern American society.”
It’s almost as if he has a problem with his short-term memory. I wonder what might cause that? Here’s the ad in question with the gun Wolf is not allowed to have in his apartment in Chicago: