A longtime congressional staffer to Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Gregg Harper has targeted two twin high school boys over their support of Chris McDaniel. A high school teacher alleges the staffer made up stories of racism, threatened to withhold West Point scholarship, and planned to retaliate against the boys for their political views.
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Lauren Watson, who formerly taught at East Central High School, detailed how the Wicker staffer, Steve Guyton, came after the twin high school students for their support of Chris McDaniel’s U.S. Senate candidacy.
Let me start with Mick and Luke Kelly. The boys are twins, graduated this year…. [Luke Kelly] was salutatorian, and urged audience to vote for Chris at the end of his grad night speech. He had a full scholarship to West Point. Steve Guyton (Harper/Wicker staffer), who had shepherded him through application process at West Point called him the next morning and threatens all kinds of actions.
Steve then called his West Point recruiter and told him (falsely) that the boy had used the “N” word on Facebook and should lose his scholarship. Both of the guys were also scheduled to be “city leaders” at Boys State which is a week-long leadership training deal at the capital for Jr. and Sr. boys. They got a letter kicking them out of the program a few days after the graduation speech. They were devastated. I have the email the one who gave the speech was sent, telling him to “use that week to stay home and think about his behavior.”
The other twin [Mick] was scheduled to go to Ole Miss in the fall. Guyton basically told him he would make his life hell (he is very connected at Ole Miss). The boy switched his enrollment to Mississippi State. Matt Boyle and the editor of our local paper has this story, but the twins and their parents opted not to talk because they were afraid of further repercussion, and they didn’t want the attention.
A letter obtained by GotNews.com from Neal Boone, director of American Legion Boys State addressed to Luke Kelly, indeed shows that Kelly was punished for his actions.
Update: 1:35 PM CST: A mentor to Luke Kelly corroborates Watson’s description of events. He writes here:
With reference to you article on Luke Kelly, I can attest to the accuracy of the threats of retribution against Luke because of his support of McDaniel. I have been some\what of a mentor for Luke and Mick over the years and do not know of more outstanding young men. Luke came to me to ask advice when this situation arose. He naturally was extremely upset, especially with the threat to have his appointment to West Point withdrawn. I advised him not to respond and possibly make a bad situation worse. Happily he took the advice and is now selected into to West Point in the class of 2018. What the supporters of Thad Cochran tried to do to this fine young men is unconscionable.
Guyton, who did not return request for comment, was profiled in the Jackson Free Press where he was as identified as an aide to Senator Roger Wicker, former Rep. Chip Pickering and Rep. Gregg Harper. “His duty is helping students nominated by congressmen get into military academies such as the United States Military Academy at West Point or the United States Naval Academy,” the Jackson Free Press wrote in 2011. The Free Press also stated that Guyton worked with Boys State to help teach children about state government.
Interestingly, Guyton runs a bingo hall with his partner, Morgan Shands. Both Guyton and Shands have been accused of embezzling money from the American Legion. (see comment section) Guyton is the post commander for an American Legion chapter “but he is not a veteran…he is not legally eligible to raise money through that group, but he does anyway, and uses the money for Boys State scholarships and to funnel to candidates,” says a whistleblower.
In April 2014, Shands and his sister Rachael Shands Buser were indicted for embezzling over $613,835 from the Mississippi Delta American Legion Post #1776. Shands is the former campaign manager for former Lieutenant Governor candidate Billy Hewes. Shands also received money from the Cochran campaign, according to FEC filings.
Despite Guyton’s alleged threats Luke started at West Point on July 2, 2014. His brother, Mick, served as a Mississippi Senate page (pictured below) and Luke was recognized by the legislature for his admittance to West Point, according to these documents.
Charles C. Johnson is the editor-in-chief and founder of Gotnews.com. Support Gotnews.com research budget.