Jack Burkman is an American lobbyist and conspiracy theorist. He is the president of the lobbying firm Burkman Associates, LLC. Burkman drew significant media attention for organizing a protest against the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League after it signed Michael Sam, an openly gay football player to its practice squad.
Early life and education
In February 2014, Burkman claimed to be working on legislation that would prohibit openly gay players in the NFL.
In June 2016, Burkman held an event called "Lobbyist for Trump" and invited all major lobbyists of Washington, D.C. to help raise money for Donald Trump's presidential campaign. In July 2016, Burkman helped fundraising for Free the Delegates, an anti-Trump effort to change the delegate rules for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
Seth Rich murder investigation
Burkman started investigating the murder of Seth Rich in September 2016 after the Rich family accepted his pro bono public relations services. The Rich family and Burkman held a joint press conference on the murder in November 2016. In January 2017, Burkman launched an advertising campaign in Northwest D.C. searching for information regarding Seth's death. This included billboard advertisements and canvassing with flyers. In late February, Burkman started spreading conspiracy theories about Rich's death by telling media outlets he had a lead that the Russian government was involved in Rich's death, and the Rich family then distanced itself from Burkman. On March 24, Burkman started "The Profiling Project", an independent investigative attempt to solve the murder of Seth Rich with help from forensics students at George Washington University.
Burkman heads the organization American Decency, a conservative organization that claims to have 3.62 million members, though this claim is unverified. The organization drew media attention when Burkman announced plans to protest the Dallas Cowboys signing of Michael Sam, the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, stating "We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country." Burkman called for legislation that would prohibit homosexuals from playing in the NFL. This proposed legislation was never formally introduced in the House of Representatives and never received a vote.
In January 2018, Burkman was attacked near his Arlington, Virginia home by an unknown assailant using a chemical irritant.
On October 30, 2018, various media outlets including The Atlantic reported that a person using the name "Lorraine Parsons" emailed several reporters on October 17, 2018, alleging that Burkman hired a man at a firm, Surefire Intelligence, to pay her to falsely accuse Robert Mueller in a sworn affidavit of "sexual misconduct and workplace harassment" taking place in 1974. Jennifer Taub, a Vermont Law School professor, also stated she had been emailed by a man at Surefire Intelligence concerning previous contacts with Mueller. She indicated that she had no previous contact with Mueller, but "forwarded the email to the special counsel's office." A spokesperson for the Special Counsel indicated that the issue had been forwarded to the FBI. Burkman denied knowledge of the offer, although he contemporaneously posted a video on his Facebook page asserting Mueller "has a whole lifetime history of harassing women." Later he stated that on November 1st he would "reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's sex assault victims" and "prove that he is a drunk and a sexual abuser."
Surefire Intelligence itself, after an investigation by reporters, was found to have been created by alt-right blogger Jacob Wohl just a few weeks before the Atlantic article appeared; his e-mail was found under the website's registration and the company's official phone number directed to a voicemail box belonging to Wohl's mother. Reporters also noted that photos on the website depicting some of its purported employees were actually those of completely unrelated people, including one of actor Christoph Waltz. Wohl, under a pseudonym, was listed as "Managing Partner".
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- Sieczkowski, Caven (September 4, 2014). "Anti-Gay Group To Protest Michael Sam, Cowboys In The Name Of 'Family Values'". Huffington Post. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Voorhees, Josh (February 24, 2014). "Even the Conservative Lobbyist Hyping a Ban on Gay NFL Players Admits It's a PR Stunt". Slate. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Prince, Jeff (September 4, 2014). "Thousands to Protest Cowboys, Michael Sam". Fort Worth Weekly. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Behind the Curtain with Jack Burkman - Radio America". www.radioamerica.com. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- Brown, Eric (February 25, 2014). "Meet Jack Burkman, The Republican Lobbyist Trying To Ban Gay Players From The NFL". International Business Times. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Catanese, David (May 16, 2016). "D.C. Lobbyists Look to Fund Trump". U.S. News. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
- Caldwell, Leigh Ann (July 10, 2016). "Anti-Trump Forces Unleash Plan to Pick Vice President at Convention". NBC News. Retrieved January 18, 2017.
- Shalby, Colleen (May 24, 2017). "How Seth Rich's death became an Internet conspiracy theory". Los Angeles Times.
- Guttman, Nathan. "Seth Rich's Family Furious At Attorney For Claiming Russia Behind The Murder". The Forward. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- "'Who Murdered Seth Rich?': Billboards to be Posted in DC". WRC-TV. January 18, 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- Searching for clues in the Seth Rich murder. The Washington Post. May 11, 2017. Retrieved May 27, 2017 – via YouTube.
- Guttman, Nathan (March 1, 2017). "Was Russia Behind Mystery Murder Of DNC Worker Seth Rich?". Forward. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- Kurzius, Rachel (March 2, 2017). "'It's Hurtful': Seth Rich's Family Responds To Latest Conspiracy Theory About His Murder". DCist. Archived from the original on July 14, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
- Kurzius, Rachel. "GOP Lobbyist Now Opening 'War Room' Dedicated To Solving Seth Rich Murder". DCist. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
- Taylor, Scott (May 25, 2017). "EXCLUSIVE: A look inside 'Profiling Project: Seth Rich'". WJLA. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
- Fink, Jack (September 4, 2014). "Protests Planned Over Sam Joining Cowboys". Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "GOP lobbyist who wants to ban gays from NFL plans Dallas Cowboys protest". LGBTQNation. September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Selby, Jenn (September 5, 2014). "Michael Sam first openly gay NFL player: Christian lobby group of 'thousands' set to protest Dallas Cowboys latest signing". The Independent. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Suebsaeng, Asawin (2017-10-01). "A Notorious, Seth Rich-Conspiracy Pushing, Lobbyist Troll is Paying Folks To Protest the DNC". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2017-10-01.
- Mccoy, Terrence; Weiner, Rachel (2018-01-17). "Conservative lobbyist was attacked outside his Arlington home Tuesday evening, police say". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
- Bertrand, Natasha (October 30, 2018). "Special Counsel Refers Scheme Targeting Mueller to FBI". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
- "Man Behind Alleged Robert Mueller Sex Assault Hoax: But What About Michael Avenatti?". lawandcrime.com. Retrieved 30 October 2018.
- Sommer, Lachlan Markay (30 October 2018). "Inside the Crazy Cabal Trying to Smear Robert Mueller". Retrieved 30 October 2018 – via www.thedailybeast.com.
- "The incredibly shoddy plot to smear Robert Mueller, explained". Vox. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
- "Law Professor Jennifer Taub Talks 'Really Creepy' Email She Got as Part of Alleged Scheme to Smear Mueller". www.mediaite.com. Retrieved 2018-10-31.