Pennsylvania State Police have mounted an investigation into an "uber-creepy" attack video that targeted state Rep. Tarah Toohill (R-Butler Township), who was the subject of a series of anonymous web clips taking aim at her harsh anti-marijuana stance ahead of her successful reelection campaign last year.
As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on Sunday, the probe comes months after a video surfaced showing images of Toohill seated on a couch near what appears to be marijuana and a bong. The photos, taken before Toohil's entrance into politics in 2010, also reportedly showed Toohil nearly locking lips with a woman seated next to her.
"Does PA Republican State Rep. Tarah Toohil believe in traditional Republican values?" the video reads. "Pennsylvania Republicans deserve Representatives who share their values!!!"
Toohil was later forced to confirm that she was "one of the young women in some of those photos." She went on to claim that she'd changed in the decade since they had been taken.
A subsequent statement by the anonymous poster claimed that the video was not meant as a personal attack on Toohil, but to call attention to what they claimed was a hypocritical opposition to "decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana, and the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes."
“These photos depict a public official who promotes policies not informed BY her life experience, but in spite of it," the statement continued. “There are millions of young Tarah Toohils out there right now in America, who like to party and experiment with drugs, just as she did. They’re smart, promising kids with bright futures who may one day become attorneys and State Representatives, just as she did. But unlike Tarah Toohil, some of them will suffer legal consequences for their youthful indiscretions."
Toohil was later targeted by another YouTube video, which took cues from the hacktivist collective Anonymous to pressure the freshman lawmaker to reverse her stance on marijuana, or face the release of more damaging personal information. The Inquirer reports:
The voice-over, female and British-accented, said the “legions” were disappointed by Toohil’s response to the surfacing of photos showing her with what appeared to be marijuana. The voice demanded she support decriminalizing the drug — or else.
“Everyone has secrets,” the voice intoned. “Please do not give us a reason to expose yours.”
The videos -- which one House Republican called "uber-creepy" in an interview with the Inquirer -- raised questions and eyebrows in Pennsylvania politics, and now the Pennsylvania State Police have responded to state Republicans' request for answers.
The Inquirer reports that state law enforcement have begun their probe into who is responsible for the videos by conducting interview with state legislators.