Board of Healing Arts member denies leaking Milton Wolf stories

? A member of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts released a statement late Thursday denying that she was the source of news reports that helped doom tea party-backed candidate Milton Wolf’s campaign for the U.S. Senate.

In a three-page statement entitled “An Open Letter to Kansas Citizens,” board member Ann Hodgdon of Lenexa also denied that she initiated any investigation into possible ethics violations by Wolf.

“I did not initiate, launch, or make any suggestions to the Board of Healing Arts or its staff to conduct an investigation of Dr. Milton Wolf,” Hodgdon said in the letter.

“I did not provide photos of Dr. Wolf’s Facebook posts of X-rays and commentary to the media; nor to the Board of Healing Arts,” she said.

Wolf is a radiologist from Johnson County who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. He lost in a close race to incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts, 41-48 percent.

Wolf’s campaign suffered a serious blow in February when the Topeka Capital-Journal reported that a few years earlier, Wolf had posted x-ray images of gunshot victims on a Facebook page, along with dark-humor comments about them.

The posts had been removed from Facebook before the story was published. The newspaper did not republish the images or identify how it obtained them.

The day after the story appeared, however, Hodgdon notified the Board of Healing Arts that she would recuse herself from any disciplinary proceedings that might involve Wolf. Both Hodgdon and her husband were financial contributors to Roberts’ campaign.

According to the Capital-Journal, Wolf apologized and admitted that he posted the material. But the Roberts campaign used those news reports in negative ads questioning Wolf’s ethics and fitness for holding public office.

Five months later – and just two weeks before the primary – the Capital-Journal reported it had received a letter from attorneys at the board requesting copies of the images as part of an investigation.

Wolf then issued a statement accusing Hodgdon of official misconduct for being the source of anonymous leaks to the newspaper.

“This instance is a new low for Healing Arts Board Member Anne Hodgdon that rises to the level of official misconduct,” Wolf said in a statement July 23.

The Journal-World attempted to contact Hodgdon at that time for a response to Wolf’s statement, but Hodgdon did not return phone messages requesting an interview.

In her statement Thursday, however, Hodgdon denied any connection to the story about the x-ray images on Facebook.

“In fact, I had never seen pictures or posts of the particular X-rays purported to have been on Milton Wolf’s Facebook page,” she said. “The first I knew of them or saw images of them was when I read the article in the Topeka Capital Journal.”

Wolf also accused Hodgdon of being the source of another story in the Capital-Journal about Wolf’s campaign rhetoric about second amendment gun rights.

“My firearm of choice is the Ruger SR-556,” the newspaper quoted Wolf as saying. “I have hatred towards no man — only towards bad government that destroys our freedom.”

Wolf had purchased that gun from Hodgdon’s husband, who co-owns a company that has a federal firearms license. And the story quoted Ann Hodgdon as saying she was offended by the tone of his remarks. The story identified Hodgdon as “a prominent Kansas Republican.”

In her statement Thursday, though, Hodgdon admitted providing that information to the newspaper.

“I did not ‘leak’ the information about Milton Wolf’s black gun purchase to (reporter) Tim Carpenter,” Hodgdon said. “I volunteered it to him. It was not confidential information.”