The NXIVM scandal has resurfaced after documents showed that the father of presidential candidate and Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand lobbied four months in 2004 for the group which has been described as a “sex cult,” according to a report.
The organization was founded as a “self-help” group before ceasing operations last year, after high-ranking members of the group were arrested on charges of sex trafficking and forced labor. (RELATED: Smallville Actress Arrested In Connection To Sex Cult)
Big League Politics obtained court documents appearing to show that Gillibrand’s father, Doug Rutnik, worked for the organization for four months in 2004 at a monthly rate of $25,000. Fox News, The Washington Free Beacon and Slate all previously reported on Gillibrand’s father and his work. An unnamed source also reportedly told Big League Politics that Gillibrand once sat at an NXIVM table at a fundraising event for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The group’s co-founder, Nancy Salzman, pleaded guilty on a racketeering charge last month. Salzman and fellow co-founder, Keith Raniere, were known as “Prefect” and “Vanguard,” respectively, by the women the group allegedly trafficked and even branded.
Raniere is currently facing a wide range of charges for his alleged involvement, including sex trafficking and child pornography. He faces 15 years to life in prison if found guilty. And, on Monday, disgraced “Smallville” actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty for her role in the case and now faces up to 20 years in prison.
“I must take full responsibility for my conduct. I am very sorry for my role in this case. I am very sorry to my family and to the good people I hurt through my misguided adherence to Keith Raniere’s teachings,” Mack said Monday, according to Page Six.
While the exact nature of the organization was not fully known before its downfall a year ago, it had received criticism years prior. A 2003 story from Forbes quotes the father of Clare Bronfman, the organization’s main funder, calling NXIVM a “cult:”
But some people see a darker and more manipulative side to Keith Raniere. Detractors say he runs a cult-like program aimed at breaking down his subjects psychologically, separating them from their families and inducting them into a bizarre world of messianic pretensions, idiosyncratic language and ritualistic practices. “I think it’s a cult,” says Bronfman. Though he once took a course and endorsed the program, he hasn’t talked to his daughters in months and has grown troubled over the long hours and emotional and financial investment they have been devoting to Raniere’s group.
The year after that story was published, Rutnik was on the group’s payroll.
Gillibrand is currently seeking the White House as the “#MeToo” candidate, and irked major power players in her party in 2017 when she led the charge to oust then-Democratic Minnesota Sen. Al Franken after multiple woman came forward to allege sexual misconduct by him.
This latest revelation adds another potential #MeToo problem for Gillibrand’s struggling campaign. Last month, Gillibrand’s chief of staff was the subject of a sexual harassment complaint. The woman quit weeks after the complaint was made, after reports of retaliation. Gillibrand has come under fire for her handling of the situation, but has defended her staff.
“We took these allegations very seriously. We opened an investigation immediately. And we did a thorough investigation. We did not find sexual harassment but we did find derogatory comments and the employee was punished for those derogatory comments,” Gillibrand said at the time. “But we took it very seriously. And this particular employee is valued. She is loved in our office. And I told her so personally.”
Gillibrand’s office did not respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller.