“This summer, a teenager from our community allegedly committed murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin.”
— Lauren Underwood, 10/1/20
Congresswoman Lauren Underwood (D, IL-14) received an early birthday present Thursday afternoon, October 1. Underwood, who turns 34 Sunday, was placed on the “Smear List”, maintained by conservative columnist Michelle Malkin, who accompanied the mother of Kyle Rittenhouse and his lead attorney John M. Pierce to a Wisconsin Republican event last week.
The “Smear List” began by Malkin in late August is an informal list of high-profile people (usually, Twitter users with verified-user check marks) who cast potentially defamatory aspersions on the Antioch, IL resident Rittenhouse. The Smear List is a “watch list” for Kyle Rittenhouse’s legal defense team from Fightback Foundation for potential civil litigation for defamation.
McHenry County Blog published Underwood’s statement at the House Homeland Security Committee hearing from September 17, where she questioned FBI Director Christopher Wray. She stopped short of placing Rittenhouse into a “white supremacist” list. Here is how she referred to Rittenhouse, but not by name:
“Your [FBI Director Christopher Wray] agencies have identified domestic violent extremism, particularly white supremacy as a leading threat to our Homeland. Last month a teenager from my district in Antioch, IL, went to Kenosha WI where he allegedly killed two people with an AR-15 style rifle amid the protests there.”
On Wednesday (Sept. 30), Underwood’s legislation H.R. 5780, the “Safe Communities Act”, came to the House floor, and Underwood spoke for its passage in a brief 4+ minute video, with the first minute and 10 seconds has the relevant point:
Underwood’s bill passed by voice vote, and faces an unclear future in the Senate. Her congressional office issued a press release on Wednesday.
Yesterday (Oct. 1), Underwood’s political campaign issued a press release on the bill’s passage, with a few changes to what Underwood had said to date:
FBI Director Christopher Wray recently testified before the House Committee on Homeland Security and identified domestic violent extremism, particularly white supremacist violence, as a leading threat to our nation.
“Suburban and rural communities like ours are increasingly threatened by acts of mass violence. Less than two years ago, we experienced a mass shooting in an Aurora workplace that tragically killed five of our neighbors. This summer, a teenager from our community allegedly committed murder in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“Targeted violence is an increasing threat to our workplaces, schools and places of worship; keeping our communities safe from violence of any kind is a top priority for me in Congress.
“Communities like ours typically don’t have access to the federal resources we need to protect ourselves from the threats of mass violence and domestic terror — the Safe Communities Act of 2020 seeks to correct this imbalance and deliver the resources communities like ours need.”Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, Underwood for Congress 10/1/20 emphasis added
Underwood did three significant changes:
- Rittenhouse went from alleged killer to “allegedly committed murder”
- Underwood grouped the shootings in Kenosha, WI, on August 25 with the Henry Pratt Company mass shooting in Aurora in February of 2019
- Grouped the two events as “targeted violence”, when the shootings in Kenosha were not targeted
In light of what Underwood said about Rittenhouse last month, and especially in yesterday’s press release, Malkin tweeted the following Thursday late afternoon:
The names on the tweet, in addition to Underwood are #Fightback Foundation’s leader Lin Wood, along with Marina Medvin and Ron Coleman. Additionally, attorney Todd McMurtry is working with Medvin and Coleman through #Fightback.
Lead defense attorney John M. Pierce is no longer part of #Fightback Foundation, but is being paid on the Rittenhouse case from #Fightback.
Whether Underwood and/or her campaign faces a defamation lawsuit remains to be seen.