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Usually when an old dude (read: anyone over 25) shows up at a frat party, it seems a little desperate. But if the old dude A) supplies the booze, and B) happens to be a state senator, it’s pretty cool. And we’ve found one state senator who definitely upped his coolness factor, but probably fucked up his political future.
Kansas State Senator Michael O’Donnell (R-Wichita) admits that he bought booze for an off-campus party with Wichita State University fraternity members last month, saying “I did buy for my friend’s birthday party,” according to the Capital Journal Online, who said the senator described it as a one-time occurrence. “Not only do I not buy it, I definitely don’t provide it for people — outside of that birthday party.” He also claimed that “I don’t ever drink. I’m a Baptist. My dad’s a Baptist preacher.”
Mmmmm, not so fast, Mr. Senator. First of all, according to the Garden City Telegram, they have confirmed that there were a number of underage peeps at the party who may or may not have consumed the booze provided by O’Donnell.
It turns out this isn’t the only accusation of this nature lobbed in the senator’s direction. According to Matt Conklin, a former president of Phi Delta Theta at WSU (and apparent general buzzkill), he witnessed O’Donnell serving alcohol to underage students in Wichita during 2015, saying “I’ve seen him provide alcohol firsthand and provide alcohol to people under the age of 21.” He continued on to say that O’Donnell’s involvement with the chapter when he was there was concerning: “He’s using that (fraternity) chapter as a political asset. It’s like he’s courting them. He wants his circle of guys.”
Additionally, Lynn Rogers, a Democratic candidate for O’Donnell’s seat board, said he heard the rumors about the senator’s inappropriate interaction with WSU students, as well as allegations of O’Donnell providing alcohol to students. “I’ve heard it from multiple people over the past year,” Rogers told the Capital Journal online. “If it’s true, it would bother me as a parent to have someone 10 years older buying alcohol. It would be a big concern.”
And then there’s the money trail:
O’Donnell’s finance report shows hundreds of dollars flowing to Rankin [a 20-year-old member of Phi Delta Theta who was at the aforementioned party] and comparable amounts to Phi Delta Theta president Dalton Glasscock, who is chairman of the Kansas Federation of College Republicans. Rankin, Glasscock and others tied to the fraternity were paid by O’Donnell for engaging in “campaign services” or in a fundraising capacity.
When reached for comment, Glasscock (best.last.name.ever.) confirmed his association with O’Donnell saying, “Michael’s like one of my brothers.” He also confirmed that Phi Delta Theta members were present at parties with the senator, but claimed “These are non-fraternity events.” Sure, Mr. Glasscock, and I’m sure that’s just OJ in your red solo cup.
Add it all up, and it probably doesn’t look good for ol’ Senator Mike. But then again, if the worst thing a politician does is buy some booze for college students, he gets my vote..
Image via YouTube