A volunteer working on a congressional campaign has recanted his allegations of being attacked because of his status as a gay Republican.
Kyle Wood, a volunteer for the Chad Lee for Congress Campaign, previously said he was physically attacked in his home because of his political affiliations, according to The Associated Press.
As a result of the false accusations Wood made about his alleged attack, he has been dismissed from his position, according to a campaign statement.
The statement went on to say the Chad Lee Campaign will fully cooperate with authorities while the Madison Police Department investigates the crime further.
Dan McNally, congressional campaign manager for Lee’s opponent, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, said in a statement the false testimony exemplifies current uncivil politics.
“We hope that those who are responsible for the recent events are quickly brought to justice,” McNally said in the statement. “We are keeping every option open on legal actions towards organizations and individuals that perpetrated this lie.”
Executive Director of Common Cause in Wisconsin Jay Heck said Christian Schneider, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and Charlie Sykes, a radio talk show host on WTMJ, helped spread Wood’s false accusations through their respective media.
Heck noted the stunt has wide repercussions and may discourage people to become involved and lead them to believe all politicians are corrupt.
Heck said stories run by Schneider without checking the validity of the claim hurt his credibility considerably, noting the columnist should issue an apology.
“It shows how desperate the right wing is to smear people who don’t agree with them and to make them look bad – it’s just irresponsible,” Heck said.
Wood’s false accusations could lead to a misdemeanor depending on whether the district attorney takes up the issue, according to Capt. Joe Balles of the Madsion Police Department.
One is not supposed to lie to the police or intentionally create a false crime, Balles said.
Balles said it is bad enough to lie to the police, but creating a crime is even worse because of the time and effort the police put forth when investigating that crime.
However, police are sympathetic toward victims, Balles said.
“We understand that it is difficult to come to the police and report a crime,” Balles said. “We are sensitive to our relationships with victims.”
Balles added it is rare to encounter false allegations and charge an individual with making them, but common to have victims report part of a crime and later report the rest.
After Wood’s recant, it is questionable as to what will happen in the future of these campaigns, UW political science professor Donald Downs said. He added the false allegation may reflect poorly on Lee’s congressional campaign.
Credibility was lost, and damage control must be taken, Downs said.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.