A Democrat seeking a U.S. House seat in Illinois – who attracted attention for a campaign ad showing him smoking pot – now faces accusations that he has abused women and misleadingly described himself as an “Iraq veteran" and "former FBI agent."
Benjamin Thomas Wolf, who is running in the Democratic primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, came under fire after an ex-girlfriend alleged he acted abusively and intentionally revealed her name and home address on social media, a practice called “doxing.”
“He actually hit me, threw me to the ground, put his foot on my chest. He was really angry. He grabbed my face,” Katarina Coates, who interned for Wolf’s campaign, told Politico.
"He actually hit me, threw me to the ground, put his foot on my chest. He was really angry. He grabbed my face."
She added: “I thought it was normal. I cannot explain the logic. It seemed like he cared about me when he did that. After that time he stood on my chest, he went and took me for chocolate cake. I kind of associated it with his caring.
"There were times I would ask him, 'Do you ever regret hitting me?' He would say: 'No, but I'm relieved when you put your head down so I don't have to do it again.'"
The woman said she did not report Wolf to police, but reached out to officials at both DePaul University, where she was studying, and Roosevelt University, where Wolf claims to be an adjunct professor.
Coates said that after she contacted DePaul campus security regarding Wolf in April 2017, a security officer told her Wolf was banned from campus.
“Ben is not allowed in campus. He does know that as I told him that personally,” Michael Dohm, deputy director of public safety at DePaul, told the woman via email, Politico reported.
But the ban was not prompted by Coates’ allegations. Instead, it reportedly was imposed after a DePaul professor named Jason Hill heard another student's accusation about an encounter with Wolf.
Hill told Politico that Wolf later sent him a number of threatening messages. “He wrote a lot of nasty letters to me encouraging me to kill myself. He said: ‘You should just commit suicide,’” Hill said.
Another ex-girlfriend, Kari Fitzgerald, also made accusations against Wolf, saying that although he was not violent toward her, he showed “abusive, escalating behavior.”
Wolf told Politico he denies the accusations of abuse. However, the Democrat also faces scrutiny over alleged claims of being an “Iraq veteran” and “former FBI agent.”
The candidate has reportedly never been a member of the armed forces, but says on his website that he has been a diplomat in the Foreign Service under the State Department during the Iraq war. One tweet from him reportedly read: "Wolf served multiple terms in Africa and Iraq. Wolf for Congress."
The candidate contends that one does not have to be in the military to call oneself a veteran.
"People in the military get upset when I say I served in Iraq. The military doesn't have a patent on the word 'served.'"
“People in the military get upset when I say I served in Iraq. The military doesn't have a patent on the word 'served,’” he told Politico.
In a news release last week, Wolf’s campaign also identified him as a “former FBI agent,” despite contrary claims by the agency.
A spokesperson for the FBI told the Chicago Tribune that the candidate worked at the agency as “a non-special agent professional support employee” rather than an agent.
Wolf confirmed to the outlet that he failed the FBI’s agent test but denied he ever identifies himself as such, adding that there is a small difference between his role at the agency and that of actual FBI agents.