A Democrat running for the U.S. House of Representatives — who caused an uproar with a campaign ad showing him smoking marijuana — now faces a slew of allegations, including physically abusing women.
Benjamin Thomas Wolf, a candidate in the Democratic primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley for an Illinois House seat, is accused of abusing a girlfriend and falsely claiming he is an “Iraq veteran" and "former FBI agent."
“He actually hit me, threw me to the ground, put his foot on my chest. He was really angry. He grabbed my face,” Katarina Coates, a former girlfriend who interned for Wolf’s campaign, told Politico. She also said Wolf emotionally abused her and and “doxxed” her by posting her name and home address on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Coates 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."
The Democrat also faces scrutiny over his claims of being an “Iraq veteran” and “former FBI agent," Fox News reports.
The candidate has reportedly never been a member of the armed forces, but says on his website that he has been a diplomat in the Foreign Service under the State Department during the Iraq war. One tweet from him reportedly read: "Wolf served multiple terms in Africa and Iraq. Wolf for Congress."
The candidate contends that one does not have to be in the military to call oneself a veteran.
“People in the military get upset when I say I served in Iraq. The military doesn't have a patent on the word 'served,’” he told Politico.
In a news release last week, Wolf’s campaign also identified him as a “former FBI agent,” despite contrary claims by the agency.
A spokesperson for the FBI told the Chicago Tribune that the candidate worked at the agency as “a non-special agent professional support employee” rather than an agent.
Wolf confirmed to the outlet that he failed the FBI’s agent test but denied he ever identifies himself as such, adding that there is a small difference between his role at the agency and that of actual FBI agents.
CNN wrote a glowing piece on Wolf headlined "Ex-FBI official hoping to blaze a path to Congress as 'cannabis candidate,'" while Newsweek chimed in with an article that said with the pot stunt, Wolf "is hoping his progressive political stances on marijuana and gun reform will connect with the predominantly young and liberal area of Chicago’s North and Northwest 5th District neighborhoods."