Jeff Beals: That Bernie Sanders CIA Guy Running for Congress from Woodstock

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A replica of Michelangelo’s “Moses” stared out from the bookshelf in Jeff Beals’ campaign headquarters in Woodstock, New York, a few rungs above a copy of the complete works of Allen Ginsberg. It gazed upon a trio of modestly framed certificates on the opposite side of the cramped former tattoo parlor from which Beals is mounting his assault on the Democratic nomination for New York’s 19th congressional district. Two commend his service as an analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency. The third is signed by Zalmay Khalilzad, an American ambassador to Iraq during a couple of the war’s bum years: “To Jeffrey Beals for his extraordinary efforts in facilitating compromise during the writing of the Iraqi constitution.” In the adjacent room, a no-less aspirational notice adorns the sink: “WE CAN’T BE IN CONGRESS IF WE CAN’T WASH OUR DISHES.”

It was a big day for the campaign, which was launched with a $56,000 loan that Beals made to himself and that ate through nearly all of his personal assets, according to a March interview with the Spotlight 19 podcast. The first major shipment of lawn signs had arrived. “There’s a Jewish perspective to this that I hope you’ll be able to portray,” a lanky and impossibly young-looking 41-year-old Beals said shortly after emerging from his office, dressed in trim blue pants and a checkered shirt along with a sly-yet-welcoming smile that a day of campaigning would whittle away. “My grandfather would always say, ‘Don’t advertise yourself.’ Don’t put up signs saying who you are.” All four of Beals’ grandparents were Holocaust survivors, and he is a regular presence at Woodstock’s Reconstructionist shul.

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