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House Republicans vote to block public funding from Kinsey Institute at Indiana University

The photo shows the Sample Gates on Indiana University Bloomington's campus, during winter.
FILE PHOTO: Emma Atkinson
The Kinsey Institute is based at Indiana University on its Bloomington campus.

Indiana House Republicans voted Wednesday to block public funding of the Kinsey Institute at Indiana University.

The Kinsey Institute is a research organization focused on human sexuality. It has attracted controversy in the past over unfounded allegations that its founder, Alfred Kinsey, abused children as part of his research.

Rep. Lorissa Sweet (R-Wabash) repeated those allegations, without evidence, as she offered her amendment to the state budget bill.

“We, as the governing body, need to put limits on the access to tax dollars we allow Indiana University to garner by denying such funds to be directed towards Kinsey Institute,” Sweet said.

Sweet went further by alleging – again, without proof – that the institute and IU are currently sheltering sexual predators.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers will write their two-year budget this session. Here’s how that process works

Rep. Matt Pierce (D-Bloomington), whose district includes IU, stridently opposed Sweet’s comments and her amendment.

“And quite honestly, it angers me when people’s good names are sullied and libeled from this floor,” Pierce said.

The House approved the amendment 53 to 34. The House will advance the budget bill to the Senate as early as Thursday.

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Pierce was asked if he was surprised so many Republicans went along with Sweet's amendment. He said GOP lawmakers are worried they'll lose their seats.

"They can't make a rational decision anymore in this body because they have to worry about some crazy people knocking them out in a primary," Pierce said.

Sweet, the amendment author, ousted a longtime Republican incumbent, Dan Leonard, in last year's primary election.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.