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Contact: Trent Lutz, Executive Director director [at] dpo [dot] org (503) 239-8625
Several Oregonians made a splash in the press in London, England earlier this month, but it wasn’t Oregon’s outstanding athletes getting all of the attention. While Oregon Olympians won accolades for their commitment to excellence and medal winning performances, it was a different type of games that caught the London Daily Mail’s attention: seven Oregon House Republicans were caught going to a topless club during a House Republican outing in Palm Springs.
In an August 10 news article, the Daily Mail reported on what they called the House Republicans’ admission that they “visited the sleazy bar while on a golfing trip to Palm Springs, California,” and said that the “topless bar scandal” was one of the reasons Rep. Kevin Cameron resigned as House Republican Leader.
Republican House Co-speaker Bruce Hanna, now-resigned House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron, and Representatives Matt Wand, Patrick Sheehan, Tim Freeman, Vic Gilliam and Matt Wingard all took part in the excursion.
While our Olympic athletes were taking the main stage“ said Meredith Wood Smith, chair of the Democratic Party of Oregon. “Kevin Cameron, Matt Wand, Patrick Sheehan, and the rest of these Republicans were focused on another type of stage all together.”
“These frat boy antics are embarrassing enough,” said Wood Smith. “But a Palm Springs vacation to the golf course and the strip club while other lawmakers were focused on jobs, the foreclosure crisis, and our public schools? It’s tough to know whether this was a Republican leadership retreat or a special episode of ‘MTV Spring Break’.”
While the House Republicans’ Spring Break debauchery was widely covered throughout major print, radio, and tv news outlets, it was the coverage in the British paper that Wood Smith said signified the magnitude of the escapade.
“At the same time we are celebrating the outstanding performance of our athletes, we are embarrassed by the actions of some of our Republican Legislators in making the international news,” said Smith.
The Palm Springs strip club trip answered some of the many questions surrounding the sudden change in House Republican leadership in July, though some still find the move raises more questions.