Rep. Berch: President Packard should sanction Rep. Spillane for anti-Semitic publication
By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org
CONCORD – State Representative Paul Berch wants House Speaker Sherman Packard to resume his support for Representative James Spillane when he was first accused of posting an anti-Semitic meme on social media now that the House Ethics Committee reprimanded Spillane.
Berch, D-Westmoreland, also wants Packard, R-Londonderry, to apologize to those who have complained about Spillane and sanction Spillane, a Republican from Deerfield.
Berch was one of seven complainants over the anti-Semitic Spillane meme posted as a state representative on January 7 of what appear to be Jewish men playing Monopoly on the backs of submissive men. It was based on a controversial mural in London and included words of support from Spillane.
Representative. Spillane referred to support from Speaker Packard’s office. The president dismissed the complaint, denied that the post was anti-Semitic except in the minds of the complainants, and said this episode would not negatively impact Rep. Spillane, ”Berch said in an email to InDepthNH.org.
It’s time for Packard to revisit those comments and apologize to the complainants for belittling their complaint now that it has proven to be well founded, Berch said.
“It is high time for the President to consider the sanctions he will impose on a member who has been found guilty of breaking ethical rules, given the sanctions he has imposed for much less serious behavior,” said Berch.
Berch noted on several occasions that Spillane called the complaint “without merit and without merit”.
“And it’s time for the President to use his platform to address New Hampshire House and condemn anti-Semitism and racism in all its forms – in clear and unequivocal terms. With his words and his actions, ”said Berch.
In his apology posted on the House calendar this week as part of the warning, Spillane said: “I sincerely apologize for echoing a meme with an image that has proven to be deeply offensive, and I acknowledge that taking this action on my behalf as a state representative without having conducted extensive research to determine the source of this image was an unfortunate breach of my normal due diligence. I am embarrassed that my failure to determine the source hateful of this image which has resulted in offending and hurting so many others, especially those of the Jewish faith. I have always held members of the Jewish faith in the highest regard and with the greatest respect. I hope my apologies will be accepted and others can learn, as I have learned, to exercise due and complete due diligence before making any posts, writings or actions with attribution to one’s status. of state representative.
Spillane and Packard did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Packard has also been criticized recently for supporting Rep. Ken Weyler, R-Kingston, and failing to remove him from his post as chairman of the joint tax and finance committee for sending committee members controversial documents, including The vaccine death report.
Death report says there is “evidence of millions of deaths and serious adverse events” resulting from COVID-19 injections, and “Data suggests we may be witnessing the world’s largest mass murder right now. organized history of our world “.
It also contains anti-Catholic statements and claims that living creatures with tentacles enter people’s bodies through the COVID vaccine, and said the Pope and the Catholic Church are Satanists and Luciferians to support the public health measures.
Representative Ned Gordon, R-Bristol, Chairman of the House Ethics Committee, released the informal resolution of a formal warning against Spillane on the House calendar. Gordon, a former judge and state senator, said the committee learned that after the publication of Spillane’s post and learned that some people found it offensive, Spillane immediately removed the post and provided a letter of apology to the Speaker of the House.
“However, this letter has not been published. There has been no public apology to those who may have been offended, ”Gordon wrote.
Gordon said the committee found the complaint to be valid and voted to proceed to the preliminary investigation phase. As part of its investigation, the committee contacted the Justice Department which had been tasked with investigating the posting and the attorney general found no basis of criminal liability and closed its case, Gordon wrote. .
The Attorney General has previously investigated a social media post from Spillane after posting an image on Facebook that read “Public Service Ad: If you see a (Black Lives Matter) sign on a lawn, it’s the same as turn on the porch light for Halloween. You are free to loot and burn this house.
Spillane said he understood the message as an “ironic” political commentary and that the investigation was closed without any action being taken.
Gordon said that Spillane’s post of the anti-Semitic mural included the words “IF WE ALL STAND, THEIR LITTLE GAME IS OVER,” which were superimposed at the top and bottom of the image. Upon posting, Spillane wrote, “Okay. Truth ”, which each of the complainants found personally offensive.
“They (the complainants) provided moving testimony about how the social media post reminded them of the prejudices and hardships their families may have suffered as a result of historical discrimination or persecution based on their religious heritage, ”Gordon wrote.
“As members of the House of Representatives, the complainants told the committee, both in writing and, for those who appeared before the committee, in person, that the post of Representative Spillane made them feel pain. , fear and loathing, ”Gordon wrote. , adding Spillane “said he now understands why people were offended and really regrets making the post. He acknowledged that if he had done due diligence this case could have been avoided.”
Gordon said the warning will serve as a warning.
“Let this formal warning serve as a notice to all legislators. When you use your title or include your legislative position at the top or bottom of your social media posts, your posts should reflect the best principles of public service. When you post something on social media as a Tribunal Member, you have a duty to know how it will affect others. And finally, having addressed this issue and made it clear that they are responsible for the content they post on social media, the Committee will not hesitate to hold lawmakers accountable for similar violations in the future, ”Gordon wrote. .
Berch said he appreciated that the ethics committee conducted a full, fair and impartial investigation.
“I further appreciate the committee’s determination that Representative Spillane violated the House’s ‘public service principles’ as well as House policies against unlawful harassment and discrimination.
“By issuing a formal warning from Representative Spillane, the committee has also issued a stern warning that similar conduct by lawmakers will have consequences,” Berch said.