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Indiana Senator Dan Coats: KKK accusations 'baseless internet garbage'

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Senator Dan Coats is refuting an online report that says he has ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

Coats responded on Twitter saying "For those who are asking - I have never had any affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan and deplore all forms of racial discrimination."

He says the report is "baseless internet garbage."

The Anonymous news accounthas distanced itselffrom the leaked information. It posted on Twitter that it has not released any information. In the tweet it said it "will NOT recklessly involve innocent individuals."

The Washington Post reports that the hacker who says he released the information is not associated with Anonymous and was acting on his own.

Anonymous says it will release 1,000 names of Klan members this week.

The following release was issued Tuesday by Senator Dan Coats' office:

Yesterday morning, a self-described hacker named Amped Attacks accused four U.S. senators (including Senator Coats) and the mayors of five major cities of being involved in the Ku Klux Klan. Despite the extreme severity of these accusations, the author provided no evidence to back up his claims.

Unfortunately, several media outlets and online sources gave these baseless allegations credit by reporting that the accusations were made by Anonymous. In fact, Anonymous - a well-known network of international activists and hackers - publicly denounced yesterday's accusations.

Additionally, the individual who made the accusations said he has no association with Anonymous.

"I am not involved with Anonymous or any other hacktivist group," he told TechCrunch on Monday. "I am my own man that acts on my own accord."

All elected officials named yesterday - both Republican and Democrat - have adamantly denied any affiliation with the KKK and denounced discrimination.

Regardless of politics, it is sad to see well-meaning public servants disparaged based on lies and misinformation. As one online commentator put it yesterday, "accusing someone of being a member of the Klan is an allegation that can upend their life, and assuming that what you see on Pastebin is a trustworthy data dump is a mistake."

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