Operation Rescue uncovers Neufeld’s own history of intimidation and hypocrisy
By Cheryl Sullenger
It reads like the beginning of a sleazy novel involving sex scandals mixed with political intrigue, but in reality it is a verbatim quote from the Kansas Supreme Court decision rendered in the 1994 case, Kansas v. Melvin Neufeld.
On the last night of the veto session of the 1994 legislative session, the bell which officially calls the Kansas House of Representatives to order for a vote was ringing. At that time, in the lobby of the House chamber, Representative Neufeld engaged Representative Richard Alldritt in a conversation.
The conversation took place in the lobby within 10 feet of the door to the House chambers. The lobby area of the House is sometimes used by legislators for the purpose of discussing and conducting “legislative business.” The only business before the House was the omnibus appropriations bill that had to be passed before the legislature could adjourn. The defendant, Neufeld, is a Republican. Alldritt is a Democrat. Neufeld had been voting “Yes” on the omnibus bill and Alldritt had been voting “No” on the bill. According to Alldritt, Neufeld told him, “You’re voting with us this time.” Alldritt replied, “Excuse me?” Neufeld again stated, “You’re voting with us this time. We know you were caught up in the [fifth floor] lounge in a compromising position with two [female] lobbyists earlier this evening. You’re voting green or we’ll call your wife.” A green vote indicates a legislator is voting “Yes” on a bill. Alldritt testified that he considered Neufeld’s statements a threat.
Alldritt did not succumb to Neufeld’s threats and voted no on the bill. The record reveals what happened next.
At this time, Alldritt was seated at his desk on the House floor, and he received a phone call from Neufeld, who was seated at his desk on the House floor. According to Alldritt, the defendant stated, “This is Melvin. What’s going on? Don’t you–you’re not voting right?” Alldritt replied that he was voting red and that he was not going to change his vote. Neufeld then stated, “Well, you know what this means.” Alldritt replied, “Yeah, I know what this means,” and hung up.
Neufeld then made another call to Representative Ed McKechnie, whom he told of Alldritt’s indiscretion. He asked McKenchie to speak with Alldritt about changing his vote. “You need to make sure that Alldritt knows we’re serious,” Neufeld had said. In later phone calls, Neufeld told McKenchie that unless he persuaded Alldritt to changed his vote, “[w]e are going to call his wife and let her know he’d been caught in this compromising situation.” However, McKenchie made no effort to persuade Alldritt to change his vote. The court document continues:
Alldritt’s wife, Carmen Alldritt, testified that she received a call from Neufeld shortly before midnight near the end of the legislative session. Neufeld told her that he was sorry to have to call and tell her that her husband’s conduct was unbecoming of a member of the House of Representatives. He advised her that he was concerned about her marriage and her husband’s conduct. Neufeld advised her that her husband had been seen in a lounge with two women employees who stood to benefit from the passage of the bill on which they were voting. Mrs. Alldritt responded, “What do you want me to do now, call my husband up to get him to change his vote?” Neufeld replied, “Well, yes.” Alldritt then received a phone call at his desk on the House floor from his wife, who was very upset. She advised Alldritt that Neufeld had called and told her that there were problems in her marriage and that her husband was behaving in a way unfit for a legislator.
Alldritt testified that during the time of all these phone calls, the call of the House was still on, which would have allowed him to change his vote at any time until the final tally was taken. However, Alldritt did not change his “No” vote on the bill, and he had no intention of doing so. Ultimately, the bill failed to pass that evening. The bill passed the next day. Soon thereafter, Alldritt contacted the Speaker of the House, the House Majority Leader, and the Attorney General’s office to report the defendant’s conduct.
Does it really get sleazier than this? Neufeld, a farmer turned representative from the Dodge City area, was charged with blackmail, but the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the blackmail laws did not apply since there is no monetary value that can be placed on a vote. The Court also ruled that Neufeld’s actions were protected by the Speech or Debate Clause that protects legislators’ speech done in the process enacting legislation.
Okay, then not blackmail perhaps, but it was certainly intimidation by anyone’s definition, not to mention a mean-spirited attempt to destroy a man’s marriage in retaliation for not capitulating to his demands.
After surviving the political faux pas, Neufeld later told the Hutchinson News, “I can’t be intimidated, and I choose not to be insulted.”
Did you catch that? Instead of owning up to his own despicable efforts at intimidation, Neufeld is playing the victim card by portraying the charge against him as an attempt at “intimidation,” a word I have noticed often associated with Neufeld’s name. I think Alldritt’s wife might have something to say about his false indignation, as well. The old adage about the proverbial pot calling the kettle “black” comes to mind.
Now fast-forward to Neufeld’s recent complaints that pro-lifers were attempting to “intimidate” him into taking action to help bring abortionist George Tiller to justice on charges of committing illegal late-term abortions. There’s that convenient “victim” card again. But now, Neufeld’s complaints ring as hollow as a dead tree stump in a Kansas wheat field.
At least the pro-lifers were not threatening to tell Neufeld’s wife something dirty about him.
They were doing their duty as good citizens, expressing deeply held points of view to an elected representative whose decisions could affect their lives and the lives of loved ones.
In fact, Neufeld has taken every action to block effective efforts that could have brought critical information to light about the Tiller late-term abortion charges. He has worked against pro-lifers seeking justice every step of the way, even to the point of telling untruths to both citizens and legislators in an attempt to stave off action that held the best promise of achieving positive results.
Neufeld told the Topeka Capital-Journal just last week, “It’s always important to remember in politics, as in the rest of life, intimidation is not a winning strategy.”
Well, I suppose he should know.
But maybe Neufeld would also do well to remember that lying, playing the victim, and covering for abortionists are also a losing strategies — ones that the public are beginning to see through — and ones that are costing the lives of viable babies that could have been saved if Neufeld had acted on the Tiller scandal with a word not often associated with the former pro-life legislator: integrity.