Jim West, the former State Senator and Mayor of Spokane, Washington, was the victim of an internet sting operation in 2004 to expose his homosexual identity. The revelation of West's sexual identity under minded West's own record as a conservative Republican that supported anti-gay legislation throughout his career in politics. West would also be accused of much more serious allegations of sexual molestation as a police officer and cub scout troop leader, some 25 years prior. Federal investigators found no evidence or credible witness testimony to support these allegations.
In 2004, The Spokesman Review reporter, Bill Morlan received an anonymous tip that the anti-gay Mayor West was having homosexual encounters through the gay dating website gay.com. The source gave Morlan, West's screen name, "cobra82" and they set up a meet at a local golf course. Did cobra82 really expect to fly under the gaydar here? He's mayor for Christ's sakes. Maybe, just maybe, somebody might recognize him. And seeing how he likes to vote in favor of denying equal rights to gay men and women, I would assume the men he had encounters with, didn't feel to guilty about exposing his true identity.
In 2005, amid the gay.com scandal, West was accused by Robert J. Galliher of sexually abusing him while he was a cub scout some 2 decades ago. West had already been under scrutiny in the past due to his relationship with accused sex offender, and fellow officer from the Spokane Sheriff's Department and fellow cub scout troop leader, David Hahn. Hahn was accused of sexually abusing cub scouts in 1981. Hahn committed suicide in 1981 when these accusations went public. No evidence was found to link West to any of Galliher's allegations, but West did admit to having private on-line relationships with gay men in the past year. Galliher's credibility was called into serious question, due to his spotty criminal record. A few things here. First, why was it acceptable in the 70's and 80's to have random men be cub scout leaders? Second, of course this guy had a criminal record. You try getting sexually abused by a police officer/cub scout leader and not come out of that with a few scars.
During a "Today Show" interview in 2005, West was asked to explain his support for laws unfavorable to gays. He explained, "If someone hires you to paint their house red, then you paint it red. Even if you think it would look better green." This logic is air-tight. So if I'm hired to steal money from old ladies I should just shut my mouth and steal the money. I shouldn't try to help the old lady if I want to. And, if you're hired to do things you don't want to do, maybe you should find another job. And, I take offense to his painting analogy. I'm a painter, and I've never once given a flying fuck what color the client wanted me to use. Don't lump painters in with the anti-gay movement. On December 16, 2005, West was recalled by voters and ousted from office. Jim West died 6 months later on July 22, 2006, but cobra82 still lives in the cold outer reaches of cyberspace.