Mitt Romney’s latest canine controversy involves his bundler Fred Malek who was arrested over 50 years ago in conjunction with an incident where a dog was killed and barbecued in an Illinois park. Mr. Malek is hosting a fundraiser for the Romney campaign on Monday in honor of Ann Romney’s birthday. Dogs Against Romney, the stealth PAC backed group dedicated to dogging Mr. Romney about the 1983 incident where he put his Irish Setter on the roof of his car, sent a press release this morning pointing out Mr. Romney’s upcoming fundraiser is hosted by “fellow animal abuser Fred Malek.”
Mr. Malek, who was 22-years-old at the time, was one of five men arrested in August 1959 after police in Peoria, Illinois found them around a grisly scene in a public park where a dog had been skinned, disemboweled and barbecued on a spit. Charges against Mr. Malek were eventually dismissed after one of his companions testified they were solely responsible for killing the animal and attempting to cook it. In 2006, Mr. Malek told Washington Post columnist Colbert King he and the other men arrested at the site of the canine cookout were “drunk out of their minds at the time” and that he merely watched the proceedings and was in no position to stop them. This explanation has not satisfied Dogs Against Romney.
“Malek just…watched. What is it with Mitt Romney and animal cruelty?” the group’s statement said.
Mr. Romney ‘s alleged mistreatment of animals has been a persistent issue for him on the campaign trail since the publication of a 2007 Boston Globe profile that revealed he once strapped his family’s Irish Setter, Seamus, into a carrier on top of the family car for a more than twelve hour road trip. Seamus responded to his roof ride by defecating and, according to our sources, running away once the family arrived at their destination.
Mr. Malek, who worked with Presidents Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush and served as National Finance Committee co-chair of John McCain’s 2008 White House bid, is also no stranger to controversy. During his time in the Nixon administration, Mr. Malek compiled a list of “ethnics,” specifically Jews, in the federal government. In recordings released in 2010, President Nixon was taped instructing Malek “to particularly check the Jews throughout the administration … and see what we can do about them.” In 1988, Mr. Malek resigned from the Republican National Committee over questions about his role in President Nixon’s push to oust Jews from the federal government. Mr. Malek apologized for his involvement, but denied playing a substantial role in the scheme.