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Texas pastor who blasted anti-discrimination law lost his job after sexual harassment probe

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A Houston, Texas pastor who engaged in scare tactics to protest the city’s new anti-discrimination law this year had been suspended from his own job with the city after being investigated for sexual harassment, KROI-FM reported.

Kendall Baker was suspended indefinitely from his position at the city’s 311 service following an investigation by the city’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The investigation was prompted by a June 2013 complaint by one of Baker’s employees, who said he “solicited sexual acts, made crude comments about female anatomy, and engaged in inappropriate physical contact by hugging subordinate female employees.”

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Investigators said in a September 2013 report that Baker also solicited donations from his subordinates on behalf of his church. Baker denied the allegations and said a “municipal union board member” made them up to put him under scrutiny by the OIG.

“Mr. Baker’s explanations were neither satisfactory nor exculpatory,” the report stated.

The law, known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO), was approved by the local city council on May 29. It extends legal protections regarding housing and employment to members of the LGBT community, similar to an ordinance passed in San Antonio last year.

Baker, a member of the local pastors council, was among those opposing the proposal before it passed. KROI reported that he squared off with Mayor Annise Parker on the issue during a May 13 city council meeting.

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“I say to you, what if I came into the restroom here while you were sitting on the toilet? How would you feel?” Baker told Parker at the time. “Wouldn’t you feel uncomfortable?”

Baker also criticized the OIG investigation into his conduct during the meeting, saying, “The reason I know the OIG is overwhelmed is because I just ended a 28-year, 11-month career with the city and was wrongfully terminated and the OIG did not handle the case appropriately.”

“You are proof we do a good job in the OIG, sir,” Parker replied.

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Baker seized on a common conservative talking point in opposing the initiative, saying it allowed for potential abuse by heterosexual men.

“The imagery that I have in my mind is a grown man going into a restroom with a 6 year old girl standing beside of her using the restroom,” Baker was quoted as saying on April 30.

Watch a report by KHOU-TV containing some of Baker’s remarks against the ordinance, as aired on April 30, below.

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The OIG’s findings on Baker’s conduct can be found below.

Kendall Baker – City of Houston Interoffice Memos

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[h/t Towleroad]

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Scientist who correctly predicted 2018 midterms says Democrats can win 18 more seats in 2020

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The political scientist who correctly predicted the 2018 elections says Democrats left seats on the table in the midterms -- and can win them in 2020.

Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Judy Ford Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"Could you explain to the viewers how it is you determine what it was that actually did win a given congressional district?" O'Donnell asked. "When there is this common belief that, oh, well, the Democrats ran because the Republicans threatened their health care and so some swing voters switched over from Republican voting to democratic voting."

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2020 Election

Maddow reveals how Chinese group Falun Gong went from disrupting events to running a shadow campaign for Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday detailed the remarkable journey of the group Falun Gong shifting from disrupting White House events to dominating the conversation on Facebook.

Maddow hilariously recounted the "major embarrassment" for the George W. Bush White House when a protester interrupted remarks by President of China Hu Jintao.

The protester was credentialed to cover the event for the Epoch Times, which is controlled by Falun Gong.

"Well, NBC News has a scoop out today about that group, about how that paper, the Epoch Times has transformed itself a lot in the Trump era. It’s a real revelation, this reporting from NBC News," Maddow said. "I mean, Epoch Times and its media group, they’ve made themselves into a whole new thing entirely and in a very big way."

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CNN

Trump’s failed Federal Reserve nominee doesn’t even know what the interest rate was 10 years ago

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On Tuesday, CNN's Chris Cuomo invited on Stephen Moore, supply-side economist and President Donald Trump's failed pick for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, to discuss the state of the administration — and Moore made a hilariously wrong remark about interest rates that suggests the country was better off without him.

"There's no greatest economy ever," said Cuomo. "You know these things ... he's doing well. He's not doing better than we've ever seen before, and you guys got the benefits of juicing the economy with this tax cut. Fair point?"

"Let me say this, I think it's a pretty darn good economy," said Moore. "I'll cite a few statistics. It's a pretty darn good one. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 50 years ... and for blacks and Hispanics and women."

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