This week isn't the first time Todd Akin has had to answer questions about his relationship with Tim Dreste, one of the country's most infamous anti-abortion activists of the 1990s. But with election day just two weeks away, a national media that's always achin' for some Akin and news that Akin was arrested not just once (as he had previously disclosed) but four times in the 1980s for participating in anti-abortion protests, Akin is receiving some high-profile scrutiny this time around.
Salon's Alex Seiz-Wald published a lengthy piece yesterday about Akin's alleged ties to extremist militia and pro-life groups led by Dreste. Seiz-Wald asserts that Akin was arrested with Dreste's group Pro-Life Direct Action and other anti-abortion organizations that used highly intimidating, sometimes violent, tactics to prevent women from getting abortions.
So who is this Tim Dreste guy Salon and other media outlets are so upset about?
The Riverfront Times profiled the man many consider to be some mix of "domestic terrorist, religious fanatic, paramilitary right-wing nut" in 1999, following his federal conviction for co-conspiring to kill, assault or do bodily harm to physicians who provide abortions.
Yesterday, Salon's Alex Seitz-Wald published a lengthy piece called "Todd Akin's Militia Ties Exposed"We reached Dreste by phone last night, but he said he was unaware of the articles that tie him to Akin and didn't want to comment. Dreste has been prohibited from distributing pro-life literature, fined $6 million by federal court and scorned by the "mainstream" pro-life movement -- moves that have effectively silenced him in the last decade.
But RFT's Melinda Roth uncovered some pretty chilling anti-abortion tactics Dreste innovated and personally practiced back in the 1980s and 1990s, when Akin was still running in his circles: