Congresswoman Helen Chenoweth, R.I.P.

Former congresswoman Helen Chenoweth died yesterday in a Nevada car crash. She was one of the most courageous members of Congress in the mid-late 1990s.  She  fought harder than any Idaho senator to find out the truth about the federal killings at Ruby Ridge, Idaho.  While Sen. Larry Craig was wishy-washy, hemming and hawing, Chenoweth was unflinching. 

Obituaries mention that she accused the feds of using black helicopter gunships. This is being portrayed as evidence that she may have been a bit looney.  Perhaps obituary writers are prohibited by law from watching any of the film footage of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms assault at Waco on February 28, 1993, with the National Guard helicopters taking a prominent role in the attack.

She term limited herself and honorably exited Congress in 2000.  If she had stayed around, she might have been one of the few Republican heroes to oppose Bush’s rising authoritarianism.  I met her in 1998 or 1999 at a dinner organized by Rep. Ron Paul’s liberty caucus – she seemed so pleasant and forthright, it was hard to believe she worked on Capitol Hill.  (She changed her name to Chenoweth-Hage after she remarried). 

In July 1995, New York gossip columnist Liz Smith mentioned Chenoweth’s response to a piece I wrote on Ruby Ridge: 

   RETHINKING THE Playboy phenomenon! Let’s take Roll Call, the little newspaper circulated to all members of Congress and actually created by Congress for Congress.

   Roll Call recently noted that Rep. Helen  Chenoweth  (R-Idaho) is distributing clippings from the June issue of Playboy to fellow members of the House, suggesting that perhaps they should read the publication. “The age-old cliche for the people who purchase magazines like Playboy is that they buy them for the articles. Well, I always thought that was a ‘little white lie’ until a constituent of mine sent in the attached article from this month’s Playboy issue.” ( Chenoweth  enclosed the James  Bovard  piece about the FBI’s notorious raid on Randy Weaver – a raid that killed his wife and son.)

    Chenoweth  said of the  Bovard  piece: “I’ve never read a better, more compelling and utterly factual account than the enclosed . . . “

   This led Playboy’s forum editor, Jim Peterson, to note that  Bovard  also writes for the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times. But “Only when he writes for Playboy does America listen. We don’t know why. We now know that Clarence Thomas reads Playboy, the Supreme Court reads Playboy. And my guess is that Clinton probably looks at the pictures. Two out of three branches of the government – not bad! We have become the voice of America.”


To the best of my knowledge, the Starr investigation into the Monica Lewinsky scandal   was never able to definitely answer the question regarding Clinton and the photos in Playboy.


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