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Mike Huckabee's Skeleton Closet

Picture of Mike Huckabee

Mike Huckabee is not like any candidate we've ever seen before. He's a teetotaler and a rock bass guitar player; a Southern Baptist TV evangelist who was a slick radio DJ even before that (starting at 11!), and knows how to play the media like his guitar. He's a solid conservative on many issues (such as abortion) but believes in the social justice parts of the Gospel as well. He's an avid fisherman with his own bass boat. He's a Republican, but still married to his first wife. (I joke! I joke!) Best of all, he's actually funny. And on camera, he's always, always friendly. Behind the scenes, though....

For an interesting, nuanced character portrait by a local Arkansas reporter, read John Brummet's "Careful Words". "I will not tell reporters or civilians in other states that he was a failed governor. I will say he was an uncommonly uneven one, blending progress, compassion, detachment, meanness and irresponsibility. "

- Got a Rapist Released From Prison (Who then Raped and Killed 2 More Women)
- His Son Tortured and Lynched a Dog. Huckabee Squelched an Investigation.
- Personal Use of Public and Campaign Money
- Extreme Views
- He Ate Squirrels He Cooked in a Popcorn Popper
- Weight Loss Preaching
- A Quick and Petty Anger
- Quotes
- Sources
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"I drink a different kind of Jesus juice" -- Mike Huckabee

"Bipolar politics has always been Huckabee’s strongest suit. No one is better at saying one thing, doing the opposite and getting credit for both, of talking small government and actually promoting big government." - Ernest Dumas, the Arkansas Times

"I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ." - Huckabee

"A wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." -- Huckabee

"It doesn't embarrass me one bit to let you know that I believe Adam and Eve were real people." -- Huckabee

"Have people never heard of a housewarming? ... Can I afford the towels? Yes. That's not the point. They're excited that we have a new house and they wanted to do something nice for us." -- Janet Huckabee on her "bridal" registries

"There was a dog that apparently had mange and was absolutely, I guess, emaciated." -- Huckabee, discussing charges that his son David tortured and killed the dog

“Without question, [Huckabee] was making a conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son [for the dog killing].” -- I. C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock

"There's a lot of support for a tax at the wholesale level for tobacco, and that's fine with me; I will very happily sign that ...Others have suggested a surcharge on the income tax; that's acceptable; I'm fine with that. Others have suggested, perhaps, a sales tax; that's fine. Yet others have suggested a hybrid that will collect some monies from any one or a combination of those various ideas, and if that's the plan that the House and Senate agree upon, then you will have nothing but my profound thanks." - Huckabee, to the Arkansas Legislature,

- Quote Sources

Huckabee Got a Rapist Freed (for dumb reasons), Allowing him to Kill Again

Mike Huckabee pressured the Arkansas Parole Board to free a convicted rapist, Wayne Dumond -- who then moved to Missouri and raped and killed two more women. Worse yet, he lies to this day about it, denying he had a role.

Worse yet, Huckabee ignored the desperate pleas of the rape victim, a 17-year-old high school student, and several other women who wrote him to say that Dumond also raped them and should not be released. The victim went to the governor's office, got right in his face, and said "This is how close I was to Wayne Dumond. I will never forget his face. And now I don't want you ever to forget my face."

Incredibly, Huckabee was unmoved, and argued that the rapist was innocent, or at least got a "raw deal... He'd been born on the wrong side of the tracks and hadn't been treated all that fairly." He even wrote a letter to the rapist saying "My desire is that you be released from prison. I feel that parole is the best way for our reintroduction to society to take place."

Huckabee had a lot of other reasons to keep Dumond in prison, too. Another woman wrote him that Dumond had raped her mother, when she was 3 years old and sleeping in bed with her -- and threatened the mother that he would rape and kill the 3 year old if the mom did not cooperate. A third woman wrote Huckabee that Dumond raped her at knifepoint, and added "I feel that if he is released it is only a matter of time before he commmits another crime and fear that he will not leave a witness to testify against him the next time." One of Huckabee's chief former aides has confirmed that the the then-governor read that letter and spoke with the victim in a follow-up phone call. He also heard about Dumond's alleged role in a murder while serving in the army.

So why was he so determined that Dumond be released? How could he ignore all of these heartfelt pleas? Well, a preacher friend of his ministered to Dumond in prison, and believed his claim that he was born-again. Huckabee commuted or pardoned over 669 prisoners, including 12 murderers -- 10 times as many as Bill Clinton did over 9 years, and more than all of the larger states surrounding Arkansas put together -- as long as they claimed to be born-again Christians, or worked at the governor's mansion, or played in the prison band.

Also, the teenage rape victim was a distant cousin of Bill Clinton, who as governor refused a request for pardon by the rapist. Right-wing circles at the time -- including NY Post columnist Steve Dunleavy and radio host Jay Cole -- had a conspiracy theory that Clinton railroaded Dumond.

Stranger yet, Dumond called the police one night and said that two men had broken into his trailer and castrated him. (The police thought he had done it himself, to gain sympathy and show that he was safe to release. Huckabee said he felt sorry for the rapist.)

In a bizarre twist, the local sheriff (Coolidge Conlee) put the testicles in a fruit jar on his desk and showed them off. "That's what happens to bad guys in my county," he liked to say. Ironically, Dumond sued him for intentional infliction of distress and won over $100,000. Then that sheriff was himself convicted of extortion, and died in jail. (Arkansas is a pretty interesting place, eh?)

Now that he's in a tight presidential race, Huckabee is denying that he had any role in Dumond's release, and has refused to release the governor's office documents on the case. He has blamed Bill Clinton for the release, or Jim Guy Tucker, the governor after Clinton and before Huckabee (who was later convicted himself of fraud in the Whitewater case.) But Huckabee's story keeps changing, and he doesn't dispute the letter of support he sent to Dumond. He said he wished he "knew more" about Dumond -- before details of the letter sent to him by other victims were made public; then he had no comment. Dumond also had a prior record -- a guilty plea for attempting to assault a teenage girl in Tacoma, Washington, and Dumond's own sworn testimony -- under a grant of immunity -- that he and two friends beat a man to death with a claw hammer in a public park, because he dated their friend's ex-wife.

Huckabee now claims that he had no influence over the parole decision. However, that board voted 4 to 1 to NOT release Dumond before Huckabee was governor. Huckabee arranged a meeting with the board, and the board's secretary -- who normally tapes the entire session -- was asked to leave the room, violating state law. After that, the board reversed their decision, voting 4 to 1 in favor of parole. Huckabee denies he asked them to release Dumond, but four of the parole board members insist that Huckabee pushed them to release Dumond. (The others are dead, not talking, or forgot what happened.) Huckabee claims that all four parole board members are lying. His office also claimed, at first, that the letters to him from other Dumond victims were not genuine, but now admits receiving at least one of them. Huckabee's former lawyer -- referred to reporters by Huckabee's own campaign, to support his story -- actually said that the governor called Dumond's sentence "outlandish" and "way out of line", and that Huckabee pushed for Dumond's release.

Huckabee refuses to release the documents from his office concerning the case. A former aide has sasid that Huckabee's staff discussed how to make sure that documents about the case, especially the letters from other Dumond victims, could be kept secret. When he left the governor's office, Huckabee spent the entire governor's emergency budget - set aside for hurricans, tornadoes and the like -- destroying the hard drives of 100 computers in the governor's office. - Rapist Sources

His Son Tortured and Hung a Dog. Huckabee Covered It Up.

Back in 1998, when Huckabee was Arkansas governor, his son David and David's friend Clayton Frady were fired from jobs at a Boy Scout camp. Why? Because they hung a stray dog by its neck, slit its throat and stoned it to death. (This same son was convicted in 2007 for bringing a loaded .40 Glock handgun and a 9-round clip through airport security. He was also Homecoming King at Arkansas State.)

When word got out about the dog lynching back in 1998, the local prosecutor wrote the head of the State Police asking for help in an investigation. The head of the state police then, John Bailey, recently told NEWSWEEK that Governor Huckabee’s chief of staff and his personal lawyer both leaned on him to officially deny the local prosecutor’s request. Bailey said he viewed the lawyer’s pressure as improper and cut off the conversation. Seven months later, he was called into Huckabee’s office and fired. “I’ve lost confidence in your ability to do your job,” Bailey says Huckabee told him. “I couldn’t get you to help me with my son when I had that problem."

I. C. Smith, the former FBI chief in Little Rock, said “Without question, [Huckabee] was making a conscious attempt to keep the state police from investigating his son.” He also says he worked closely with Bailey and called Bailey a “courageous” and “very solid” professional.

Prosecuting Attorney Tim Williamson of Mena, Arkansas said cruelty to animals is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.

Mike Huckabee told Newsweek that Bailey's charges were "untrue", but his Chief of Staff and lawyer at the time both admit they talked to Bailey about the dog killing. - Dog Lynching Sources

Enriching Himself with Public Money

Mike Huckabee has a record of dipping into public funds and accepting improper gifts from supporters, something worrisome for a job like president where you control a trillion dollar budget. Most politicians use money as a means to get more power, even while living lives of near poverty (as Bob Dole has); surprisingly few actually enrich themselves through their work. Mike Huckabee has.

He was investigated 16 times and cited five times by the Arkansas Ethics Commission for violating ethics rules. Two of those citations were for cash that the governor or his wife accepted but did not report. Huckabee's gifts peaked at $112,000 in 1999, including $23,000 worth of clothing; over half of that was given by one businessman who Huckabee appointed to a state board.

At one point, Huckabee claimed that he personally owned $70,000 in Governor's Mansion furnishings donated by cotton grower Boe Adams, but was forced to disavow them after Adams said they were for the state, not the governor. After he moved out in December 2006 though, no one could find the furniture even after a state audit. Huckabee's wife insisted they must be there somewhere.

In 1999, his former administrator at the Goveror's Mansion sued him for abuse of state funds, claiming that Huckabee used state funds for upkeep of the mansion on panty hose, barbecue, a dog house, dry cleaning, boat fuel, and alterations to his clothes. Huckabee settled out of court, by agreeing that legal doubts existed over his use of the fund and that he wouldn't use it for these purposes in the future.

Huckabee also used state police airplanes as a personal transportation service for him and his family, flying scores of times each year, including trips to other states with early presidential primaries. He claimed this was legitimate for security reasons.

In 1994, when he was lieutenant governor of Arkansas, Huckabee formed a non-profit organization called Action America, which seemed to exist only to deliver money to him without donors having to report or limit their contributions the way they would a normal political contribution. In 2 and a half years, Action America paid Huckabee over $61,000 just for giving speeches at its events.

When he was getting ready to move out of the governor's mansion, bridal registries were set up at Dillards and Target for the governor and his wife, who had been married for more than 30 years. They registered for nearly $7,000 in housewares, as well as $1,000 gift cards.

State ethics laws prohibited the Huckabees from receiving gifts of more than $100 as a reward for doing his job. But there was an exception for wedding presents.

Maybe it's just an Arkansas tradition -- Bill and Hillary Clinton registered for house gifts when they left the White House. An investigation found that they received over $75,000 worth of gifts but did not violate any federal laws. - Public Money Sources

Weight Loss Preaching

It's not exactly a scandal, but you might get pretty tired of hearing about Huckabee's weight loss success if he is elected. The Governor is a born-again thin man, a workout nut who gets up before dawn to run 5 miles every morning and wants everyone else to share in his conversion.

After getting diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes, Huckabee started a strict diet and exercise regimen, lost 110 pounds, ran a marathon and wrote a book called "Stop Digging Your Grave With a Knife and Fork."

He has taken his crusade public as well. In Arkansas, he put in incentives for exercise breaks at work, increased state insurance coverage for obesity, stricter nutritional guidelines for school lunches, a ban on indoor smoking and proposed restrictions on school vending machines. He has been accused of banning birthday cakes in schools but denies it. His most controversial measure required schools to weigh all students and send home cards reporting their Body-Mass Index (BMI) rating.

The Trust For America's Health reported that after all this, the obesity rate for Arkansas adults actually went up. Huckabee counters that after 3 years of weighing and reporting on students, the number at risk of obesity went down -- by one half of one percent. - Weight Sources

He Ate Squirrels He Cooked in a Popcorn Popper.

There's not a damn thing I can add to that. Here is a video of him talking about it.

A Quick and Petty Anger

Mike Huckabee has stood out in this election for his consistently positive, upbeat performancs on TV and in debates. Those who have know him longer know a different side -- a vindictive, thin skinned anger. Since the president is the one we look to in time of crisis, this is a serious concern.

One quick example; as he was leaving office, Huckabee directed that a bunch of money that the legislature allotted for other programs be shifted to pay for a new faculty position at the University of Arkansas Medical School, named for the doctor who helped him lose 110 pounds. Legislators questioned the legality of this move, and even the medical school president suggested it might be better to do this the right way, by asking the legislature to approve the change. (This all happened just days before a new legislative session opened.) Huckabee got mad and cancelled all of the spending.

And shortly before leaving office, Huckabee took all of the money in the governor's emergency fund and spent it destroying the hard drives of over 100 computers in the governor's office, to protect what he called "the privacy" of the contents. (Since he was planning a race for president, and many of his other scandals were documented by memos and emails., many observers considered it to be a pre-emptive coverup.)

The new governor literally had to find and spend $335,000 just to replace the hard drives and computers destroyed. And then there was not a penny left in the emergency fund -- designed to pay for extra expenses during hurricanes, tornados, etc. -- for the last six months of the fiscal year. - Thin Skin Sources

Extreme Views

Huckabee knows how to looks friendly and reasonable on TV, which doesn't change the fact that he holds some pretty radical beliefs. Furthermore, he is evading or flat-out lying about what he thinks, and making sure that evidence isn't lying around. He now claims that years of his sermons were destroyed in a church remodeling, and he had 100 computer hard drives destroyed -- literally crushed -- when he left the governor's office.

Even so, we know some of his radical views. He said in 1992 that AIDS victims should be "isolated", and the government shouldn't fund research; instead, he wanted Madonna and Elizabeth Taylor to pay for the studies. He does not believe in evolution, thinks Adam and Eve were actual people, and refuses to say whether women should be allowed to be preachers. - Extreme View Sources


"For Huckabee, careful words", by John Brummett, Arkansas Times, February 1, 2007

Quote Sources

"Huckabee: 'a different kind of Jesus juice'", by Steve Pope, Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2007

"Huckabee Hides His Full Gospel?", by David Corn and Jonathan Stein, Mother Jones, December 10, 2007

"A sting from Huckabee," By Donald Lambro, Washington Times, December 3, 2007

"Jekyll and Huck", by Ernest Dumas, the Arkansas Times, 9/21/2006

"Huckabee stands by 'Christ' comment", By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press (via Yahoo.Com), December 30, 2007

publicmoney Sources

"Huckabee Tries tto Gloss Over Ark. Record", by Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press via, November 28, 2008

"Ark. governor defends gift registries", By Andrew DeMillo, Associated Press via, November 15, 2006

"Counting the furniture -- Huckabee takes his office furniture; a conflict on Mansion gift.", by Leslie Newell Peacock, the Arkansas Times, 12/14/2006

"Ask us about our governor: A primer on the Huckabee tenure as he embarks on a run for president", by Ernest Dumas, Arkansas Times, 12/21/2006

"Huckabee For President?", by Warwick Sabin, Arkansas Times, Sept. 22, 2005

"Huckabee: 'a different kind of Jesus juice'", by Steve Pope, Los Angeles Times, December 2, 2007

"Twilight For Huck", Arkansas Times, January 25, 2007 "Huckabees Registered For Gifts", Arkansas Times

weight Sources

"The Slenderized Governor, With Advice to Share", By SHAILA DEWAN, New York Times, September 10, 2006

Thin Skin Sources

Extreme Views Sources

"Three GOP Candidates Say They Don't Believe in Evolution," By: Mark Memmott and Jill Lawrence, USA Today On Politics, May 4, 2007

Rapist Sources

"The Story Mike Huckabee Dreads", by Byron York, The National Review, December 5, 2007

"Let us not whitewash governor's Clemencies", by Garrick Feldman, Arkansas Leader, July 28, 2004

"Huckabee's role in rapist's parole comes under fresh scrutiny", by Dana Bash and Alexaner Mooney, CNN.COM, December 7, 2007

"Murder Victiim's Mother Assails Huckabee," CBS News.Com, December 5, 2007

"Paroled Rapist Could Haunt Huckabee," by Brian Montopoli, CBS News.Com, December 4, 2007

"Huckabee Aide: Gov Pushed For Rapist's Freedom," by Brian Ross, ABC News: The Blotter, December 5, 2007

"Former Aide Contradicts Huckabee Defense of Rapist's Release," by Murray Waas, Huffington Post, December 5, 2007

"Documents Expose Huckabee's Role in Serial Rapist's Release," by Murry Waas, The Huffington Post, December 4, 2007

"Hard Times For Huckabee," The Hotline -- National Journal, December 6, 2007

"Despite Victim's Pleas, Huckabee Pushed Rapist's Freedom," by Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee, ABC News: The Blotter, December 5, 2007

Dog Lynching Sources

Huckabee's Son Arrested With Gun at Little Rock Airport, Associated Press on Fox News website, April 26, 2007

"Governor's Son 1 of 2 Fired At Scout Camp After Stray Dog Killed", by Elizabeth McFarland, Arkansas Gazette-Times, August 7, 1998

It’s No Longer a Dog’s World", By Marc Santora, New York Times: The Caucus, December 17. 2007

"A Son’s Past Deeds Come Back To Bite Huckabee," By Michael Isikoff and Holly Bailey, NEWSWEEK, Dec 24, 2007

Letter from Animal Legal Defense Fund to Boy Scouts Chief Executive, October 30, 1998

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