About a month ago, Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin acknowledged, almost in passing, that he’d been arrested at an anti-abortion protest many years ago, and promised he’d release the details of his arrest soon. Soon after, the Missouri congressman changed his mind and said there would be no additional details.
This, of course, only made folks like me more curious about what he’s hiding.
As of a few weeks ago, we learned that the right-wing lawmaker had been arrested at least three times – Akin went by a different name, which made public-records searches tricky – and now we know the total number is actually quite a bit larger.
Missouri Republican Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin was arrested at least eight times in the 1980s at anti-abortion protests, according to newly obtained records.
That is four arrests in addition to four the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported last month based on a review of its contemporaneous coverage of protests. The four additional arrests each appear to have occurred outside a women’s health clinic in Ballwin, Missouri in St. Louis County between 1985 and 1987.
“Right Wing Watch,” a project of People For the American Way, a nonprofit group critical of Akin’s ties to what it calls radical elements of the pro-life movement, obtained incident reports on the arrests Friday from the St. Louis Country Police Department under Missouri’s sunshine law, and provided them to National Journal.
As People for the American Way’s Michael Keegan has explained, “These were not non-violent protests. These were aggressive, physical efforts to shut down clinics…. What’s remarkable is how long Todd Akin has been able to hide these incidents.”
We also learned that Akin was arrested while protesting with an anti-abortion group later taken over by Tim Dreste, who started a militia group and was accused of supporting political violence. Akin contributed financially to Dreste when he sought public office.
As for the larger context, if Akin is elected tomorrow, he’ll have one of the more extensive criminal records of any U.S. senator in history.