The self-described “Cannabis Candidate” running for the 5th Congressional District seat has been accused by a former girlfriend and two former associates of abusive behavior.
Benjamin Thomas Wolf, who has drawn national attention for a provocative campaign ad showing him smoking a joint, also caught flak on Wednesday for blowing smoke about his supposed credentials as a “former FBI agent,” when authorities say he worked as a support staffer.
The abuse allegations were leveled in a Politico report quoting a former girlfriend and campaign intern who said Wolf was physically and emotionally abusive to her, claiming he once threw her to the ground and stood on her chest.
Additionally, a DePaul professor accused Wolf of threatening behavior after they had discussed working on a book together, leading campus police to ban Wolf from campus, according to Politico. Another woman quoted in the story alleged “abusive, escalating behavior” when they dated.
Wolf vehemently denied the accusations in a phone interview, calling the former intern’s claims “really sad.” He acknowledged a “falling out” with the DePaul professor but denied wrongdoing.
Besides the marijuana ad, Wolf’s campaign has raised eyebrows by posting a video of the candidate assembling an AR-15, and by buying ad space on porn websites.
Campaign statements released on Feb. 21 and Feb. 27 both identified Wolf as a “former FBI agent,” but an FBI spokeswoman said Wolf worked as “a non-Special Agent professional support employee.”
Wolf laughed off questions about his FBI record.
“Those [campaign statements] were not sent out by me,” Wolf said. “We are very clear about my record on our website. I was an investigative specialist. I had a wonderful public service career and I’m proud of it.”
In a candidate interview with the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board, Wolf identified himself as “a professor of government and history at Roosevelt University and East-West University.”
Roosevelt officials said Wolf is not an employee. East-West officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
Wolf claims he worked as an adjunct professor at each school for one semester but said Wednesday that he has quit because the campaign left him “too busy to teach.”
He dismissed Wednesday’s controversies as “politically motivated” and said they were dredged up by the campaign of incumbent Rep. Mike Quigley, whom Wolf is trying to unseat in the March 20 Democratic primary.
“We’ve been getting a lot of attention,” Wolf said. “It concerns our opponent. I’m a candidate who is not attached to the Democratic Party or special interest groups, and voters are responding to that.”
Quigley campaign spokesman Tom Bowen said they weren’t involved.
“The facts speak for themselves. Ben Wolf’s disturbing and violent conduct disqualifies him from public office, and his blatant lies about his background are a disservice to all those who have served honorably,” Bowen said. “Voters won’t accept this.”