Nadine Smith

Tell Bill McCollum: We want our money back!

Filed By Nadine Smith | May 20, 2010 8:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Politics
Tags: Bill McCollum, George Rekers

Attorney General Bill McCollum spent $120,000 of our tax dollars mccollum_rekers.jpgon a fraud in his quest to pander to bigots and homophobes, and we need your help to get our money back.

Sign the petition to Bill McCollum: we want our money back!

Florida is the only state in the nation that bans gay adoption, and McCollum urged the state to hire infamous anti-gay crusader George Rekers as an expert witness to defend Florida's indefensible gay adoption ban. As the Orlando Sentinel's Scott Maxwell reported, "First, Dr. George Rekers' 'expertise' was essentially dismissed as junk science by the courts. Then, Rekers' anti-gay credentials were naturally called into question after he was caught traveling with a gay hooker who advertised his services on a porn site." McCollum personally arranged for Rekers' hiring as an expert witness and spent $120,000 in taxpayer money for his bogus testimony.

The hateful hypocrisy of this homophobe for hire is bad enough, but the real scandal here involves Attorney General Bill McCollum, who gave Rekers $120,000 of our money even though two courts had already found Rekers not credible as an expert witness. Despite his attempts to backpedal and blame others, the fact is McCollum personally vouched for Rekers and aggressively advocated he be hired despite objections from the cash-strapped Department of Children and Families. Public records show McCollum ignored the terms of the written agreement with Rekers and doubled his pay from $60,000 to $120,000.

Rekers would have to have spent 400 hours preparing for the few hours of testimony he gave to justify his $120,000 tab to Florida taxpayers. And Florida isn't the first place he's pulled this scam. He tried it in Arkansas too. The Arkansas Supreme Court concluded Rekers testimony was "pointless." When Rekers tried to more than double his cost, the state refused the extra expenses, took him to court and won. Why didn't McCollum fight for our money too?

While Florida maintains its shameful position as the only state with a ban on gay people adopting, thousands of children languish in our foster care system hoping to be adopted. Hundreds age out of the system each year never knowing a permanent home or the network of support and protection that comes from having a family.

Tell Bill McCollum: we want our money back!

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Rekers billed $90,000 of the $120,000 for "research".

The court transcripts showed that all he did was recycle his testimony from Arkansas, reading prepared notes, apparently Verbatim. Here's what he did in Arkansas:

In counterpoint to the quality of Dr Lamb's testimony was the testimony provided by Dr George Rekers. It was apparent from Dr Rekers testimony and attitude on the stand that he was there primarily to promote his own personal ideology. If the furtherance of such ideology meant providing the court with only partial information or selectively analyzing study results that was acceptable to Dr Rekers. Dr Rekers was unable to testify without referring to approximately seventy pages of notes. A large part of his testimony was not responsive to the questions being asked him but consisted of Dr Rekers simply reading his prepared notes on a topic he wished to promote. For the most part, whether on direct examination or cross examination, he was unable or unwilling to directly answer a question.... Dr Rekers willingness to prioritize his personal beliefs over his function as an expert provider of fact renders his testimony extremely suspect and of little, if any, assistance to the court in resolving the difficult issues presented by this case. Dr Rekers personal agenda caused him to have inconsistent testimony on several issues.
In Re Gill (Florida):
During Dr. Rekers’ testimony, attention was drawn to his authorship of a St. Thomas Law Review article entitled “An Empirically Supported Rational Basis for Prohibiting Adoption, Foster Parenting, and Contested Child Custody by Any Person in a Household that Includes a Homosexually-Behaving Member” wherein the doctor heavily cited to the conclusions of a colleague who is sharply criticized as distorting data and was censured and ousted by the American Psychological Association for misreporting evidence regarding homosexual households....Dr. Rekers’ much contested and hardly empirical article also cited to journals from authors who were neither psychotherapists nor social scientists.
He belongs to a cult, that has published the following, from The Christian World View of Psychology and Counseling:
We affirm that the subject matter of counseling is precisely the same as that of the Bible and, therefore, the Bible completely equips us with the theory and principles of counseling. We deny that the Bible is inadequate for the theory and practice of counseling....We affirm that the scientific method is useful in carrying out the creation mandate of Genesis 1:28 to subdue and have dominion over creation when the investigators have Biblical presuppositions and when the Bible does not directly give us the answers we seek; that the use of the scientific method is entirely controlled by the presuppositions of the investigators and therefore the results are a pronouncement of faith rather than of scientific fact...We deny that the scientific method can ever be applied in psychology without its being thoroughly determined by the presuppositions of the investigators.

I live in Florida and this is old news. What is new and encouraging is that the media is finally covering this travesty. Meanwhile Zoe, what can you tell us about Australia that is encouraging?

Encouraging news?

Well... that any politician who, as part of his electoral compaign attacked an opponent for believing evolution, would be classed as a raving nutcase.

GLBTI news for Oz:

Headline: NSW Minister for Transport resigns over being caught taking a taxpayer-funded car to a gay sex club.
Subledes: Lots of analysis (from left) saying how we have a long way to go since he's felt he's had to hide his "secret bi life" for 20 years. Criticism of him personally (from right) for using taxpayer-funded car, should have used a taxi like they do.

Headline: NSW introduces same-sex couple registry.
Subledes: Criticism (from left) as it's not as inclusive as legislation in other states and territories, doesn't go far enough. More criticism (from right) as de-facto marriages (same sex or not) now have same legal status as official ones, so this wasn't needed - should have had ceremonies like other states, or been tossed out.

Headline: Federal Government ignores Intersex rights in latest Human Rights Legislation.
Sublede: Promises to look into it in future, and fully implement recommendations of Australian Human Rights Commission. Criticiosm by Left that they're foot-dragging. Right is silent on the issue.

Headline: AFL (Aussie Rules) Sports Star advises gay sports people to stay in closet.
Sublede: He gets bagged by all and sundry, with some discussion of how sad it is that what he says about homophobia being rife in society is true to some degree.

IMHO... it's not that Australia is ahead of the USA in GLBTI issues. In many ways it's not. We do things even more slowly than you do. It's just that the right-wing here are not completely stark staring bonkers, frothing-at-the-mouth lunatics as they appear to be in the USA. One can be on the right, and sane.

Olympia Snowe would be considered far right here.

Given that our Prime Monster is a Born Again Fundie (by Australian Standards), and the leader of the Opposition a staunch Catholic, we're doing OK. You must remember that only 10% of us attend church regularly, "regularly" being defined as more than once every 6 months.

I think we should tell President Obama we want our votes back.The federal government is still giving money to right wing religious and family values groups that promote lgbt intolerance.Also that same federal government will pander to and give more rights to illegal immigrants then to us.They will have the whole enchilada federally recognized marriage,rights from employment discrimination and we'll still legally be second class citizens even though we are Americans.Care to bet?

This is pure evil. Using your crazy ideology from 3000 years ago to inflict grievous harm on young people, and charging several years' salary for an average person to do so.

Jillian - this is not the normal case of yet another Fundie caught with his pants down.

Rekers was involved in "Operant conditioning" experiments on "Feminine boys" at UCLA. Torturing them with beatings.

There were worse programs going on at the time. Let me introduce you to a new concept: CSS. Contingent Skin Shock.

The use of CATTLE PRODS on children to enforce compliance. That was used at UCLA at the time on other programs, all Federally funded. It still goes on. Most such operations have moved offshore, out of the public eye.

There's little I can do here in Australia to go much further. But Dr Rekers has been practicing as a "Child Psychologist" now in the USA for 30 years, with connections to the Florida Child Welfare agencies to shield him. Examination of patient records might well show up something monstrous.

This might blow up into a huge scandal, much bigger than anyone suspects. For example, any bets that the 16 year old boy he adopted wasn't groomed to give very special massages to "Daddy"? He's the same age as the professional that was hired.

No-one's touched that yet. We'd need a huge amount of proof before even raising the possibility as a conjecture, lest we be guilty of committing a grave injustice. But an investigation is warranted.

I can't believe they even let Rekers get away with billing that much. Did he have any documentation to prove the hours he worked? That they were actually for this specific case and he worked the full hour?

Seriously, any job that doesn't require a college degree would never let someone get away with "I worked 400 hours that you didn't see, now pay me." McDonald's doesn't just ask every Saturday, "OK, everyone, how much did you all work?" A packing plant doesn't just have a log where people write down how much they worked at the end of each month, we'll mail the checks soon! Even salaried workers can't say that they worked twice as many hours as normal, so they're owed twice as much pay.

The homophobia and transphobia from all this stench, but the class privilege is still there too. Unless McCollum and Rekers were fucking, of course. Then this makes more sense.