Lawmaker Who Harassed Anti-Planned Parenthood Women Under Investigation for His Own Past


Pennsylvania state Rep. Brian Sims was the kind of guy who seemed poised to break out nationally.

The Democrat was the first openly gay captain in NCAA football history and has a long list of LGBT and liberal activism bona fides. He’s a popular corporate speaker. An engaging personality. He seemed like the kind of guy ready to embed himself into the American consciousness.

And so he was, although not quite in the way he would have imagined. Sims, a volunteer with Planned Parenthood, decided to go above and beyond for the organization.

He filmed himself offering a reward to dox three teenagers who were protesting with a woman outside of a southeastern Pennsylvania clinic and harassing another protester when they wisely decided to get out of the way of the scary man.

Now, the scandal has refocused attention on Sims’ previous investigation by the Pennsylvania State Ethics Commission over speaking fees he received.

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First, the reason why everyone knows who Sims is: This video was posted to Facebook three weeks ago, according to The Daily Caller.

“What we’ve got here is a bunch of protesters, a bunch of pseudo-Christian protesters who’ve been out here shaming young girls for being here,” Sims says as he approaches the women. “So, here’s the deal, I’ve got $100 to anybody who will identify these three, and I will donate to Planned Parenthood.”

Do you think Rep. Sims' apology was genuine?

When the young women went away, Sims then focused on a man praying on the sidewalk: “What makes you think it’s your job to tell women what to do with their bodies?” Sims says. “The truth is I’m not really asking because I don’t care. Shame on you!”

That was in April. This past weekend, Sims’ livestreaming habits — which I must admit seem a tad more aggressive than Beto’s skateboarding antics — began receiving widespread opprobrium after he decided to chastise a lone woman on camera for protesting outside of Planned Parenthood.

Although he didn’t offer any explicit doxing bonus, he did say that “the same laws, luckily, that protect her from being out here also protect me from showing you who she is,” which sounds a bit to these ears like, “Nice anonymity you’ve got there. Shame if anything were to … happen to it.”

So, was this just an example of an unimpeachable Cincinnatus losing his marbles a few times on camera because those blasted Christians were interfering with the sacrament of abortion?

(Oh, and the other myriad forms of health care that Planned Parenthood kinda sorta not really provides, which Sims mentions very conspicuously in his apology — which we’ll get to later and is every bit as insulting as you might think it is.)

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Well, perhaps not.

“The lawmaker who confronted a woman praying outside Planned Parenthood May 2 was the subject of an investigation by Pennsylvania’s State Ethics Commission, after questions were raised in 2017 regarding speaking fees he received while in office,” the Catholic News Agency reported Tuesday.

“The state’s ethics commission opened an investigation into state Rep. Brian Sims following a 2017 complaint that he had violated Pennsylvania’s Ethics Act. Sims is accused of accepting honoraria, including fees and free travel and accommodation, in violation of policies governing state legislators.”

It gets worse from there.

“Sims allegedly failed to report thousands of dollars worth of travel expenses, which he later reimbursed out of his official campaign funds, following a series of high-profile speaking engagements and trips overseas, made in connection with charitable fundraising,” the news agency reported.

“A 2016 investigation by City&State Pennsylvania found that despite a rule prohibiting legislators from accepting honoraria, including speaking fees, Sims earned more than $40,000 from such activity following his election in 2012.

“Sims has repeatedly insisted that the events were given in connection with his national role as an LGBT activist, and were not connected to his legislative work.”

For his part, Sims has claimed it was all a smear campaign.

“This is the cost of politics in a city like Philadelphia,” he said in a 2017 interview with Philadelphia Weekly. “I can still be really angry about it. It feels very Machiavellian. This was done to hit me where I’m strongest — and I think I’m strongest in my ethics.”

I don’t doubt that Philadelphian politics is a brutal game; I’ve seen both city’s football fans and the (now defunct) Wing Bowl, so if you told me that someone was going to play dirty in local politics, I would generally have no qualms believing it.

However, first, let’s examine that “I think I’m strongest in my ethics” remark.

Yes, it was made roughly two years ago. But it’s doubtful Sims’ personal code of conduct was ever that all that solid if, in 23 months, he was totally cool telling his Facebook followers to dox teenage girls and then livestreaming verbal abuse of a female abortion clinic protester on social media. (Mandy Patankin, I believe, might have something to say about Sims’ understanding of the word “ethics.”)

Second, see if this sounds like ethics to you: “According to the City&State report, Sims was billed as a state representative in advance of a 2015 engagement to speak about LGBT issues to employees at Microsoft corporate headquarters in Seattle, suggesting a conflict with Pennsylvania ethics law,” CNA reported.

“Sims also failed to declare travel and accommodation he received from Microsoft in connection with the event. Though he initially suggested that the event had been arranged spontaneously while he was on a trip to California visiting friends, Sims made the trip in the company of a professional political consultant retained by Sims in 2013. City&State also found the event had been promoted by Sims months before it took place.”

At another paid speaking event, he was billed as “Rep. Brian Sims” and was slated to talk “about his career as a legislator and on current legislation before the House,” which doesn’t sound a whole lot like discoursing on LGBT issues.

When it comes to the doxing controversy, like most good liberals who find themselves in a bit of a viral bother, Sims posted a video in which he didn’t really take responsibility for anything except for reacting to horrible, horrible Christians protesting outside a Planned Parenthood clinic, and he’ll do better in the future or something, blah blah blah, whatever.

Just watch him flail about and not once mention trying to dox teenagers:

In other words, it’s kind of the opposite of President Trump’s most examined phrase: There were very bad people on both sides. And the other people kind of started it.

We could go on and on about whether or not Planned Parenthood really provides health services at the level Sims claims it does (spoiler alert: no) or whether Christian protesters outside of an abortion clinic (sorry — “women’s health care facility”) are really that menacing.

However, one Twitter user summed Sims’ mea sorta not really culpa up well, if in some unfortunately obscene wording: “Yesterday I punched some kids in the face but today I realized that they deserved it and f— those stupid kids, but my hand hurts. So I’d like to apologize to my hand for punching those dumba– kids.”

More or less.

As for the ethics charges, the ethics commission hasn’t commented on whether the investigation has concluded yet, according to the Catholic News Agency.

Whatever the case may be, one only hopes Sims finds enough ethics to stop trying to dox people he doesn’t agree with.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture