Florida Attorney General and Republican candidate for Governor Bill McCollum is taking increasing heat for paying $120,000 to George Alan Rekers to testify in a court challenge to the state's gay ban. McCollum has tried to place the blame for hiring Rekers on the Department of Children and Families, and his spokesperson said DCF selected him. Today, the Florida Tribune has reported that McCollum personally urged the state to hire Rekers.
"McCollum wrote a July 2007 letter to then DCF Secretary Bob Butterworth where he said his legal team “strongly” recommended the hiring of Rekers, a psychologist once on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and who helped found the Family Research Council back in the ‘80s.
“They believe that this expert and his testimony are necessary to ensure a successful result in this case,’’ wrote McCollum in the letter obtained by the Florida Tribune.
McCollum in his letter noted that initially DCF refused to hire Rekers, due primarily to the potential cost of his fees. Instead the child welfare agency wanted to only hire Walter Schumm, a professor of family studies at Kansas State University.
“Dr. Schumm is a good expert, but his areas of expertise are different from Dr. Rekers,’’ wrote McCollum. “Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case."
McCollum knew or should have known that Rekers' testimony had been found to have no credibility by a Florida circuit judge and by the Arkansas Supreme Court. He also knew or should have known that Rekers' theories about gays have long since been debunked. He urged his hiring at $120,000 in taxpayer money anyway.
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