Judy L. Thomas, Kansas City Star, October 19, 2010
Three months ago in Kansas City, the NAACP first raised charges of racism within the tea party movement. Today a report is being released accusing tea party groups of providing platforms to anti-Semites and other bigots.
“These groups and individuals are out there, and we ignore them at our own peril,” said NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous in a statement announcing the report. “They are speaking at tea party events, recruiting at rallies, and in some cases remain in the tea party leadership itself.”
The 94-page report is being released by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in a teleconference today.
“Here we go again,” said Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation. “This is typical of this liberal group’s smear tactics.”
Not only have tea parties given platforms to extremists, the news release said, the movement is a recruiting ground for hard-core white nationalists who are “hoping to push these (white) protesters toward a more self-conscious and ideological white supremacy.”
The report, “Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions,” was written by Leonard Zeskind and Devin Burghart of the Kansas City-based Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
The report cites numerous examples of what it said were racism and extremism within the tea party movement. Some of them, according to the news releases:
* The St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens, the largest white nationalist group in the country, has both led and promoted tea party protests. Roan Garcia-Quintana, a member of ResistNet who served as media spokesman for a 2010 Tax Day Tea Party in South Carolina, is on the national board of directors for the Council of Conservative Citizens.
* Clayton Douglas, a former information officer for the New Mexico Militia, is a member of the ResistNet tea party. He uses his profile on the ResistNet website to advertise his own “Free American” website, on which he promotes anti-Semitism.
* The Wood County Tea Party in Texas is led by a woman who used to be involved with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
* The 1776 Tea Party–also known as TeaParty.org–is led by Stephen Eichler, executive director of the Minuteman Project, an anti-immigrant border patrol group often referred to as vigilantes.
But Sal Russo, a California political consultant and chief strategist for the Tea Party Express, called the report ridiculous.
“To attack a grassroots movement of this magnitude with sundry isolated incidents only goes to show the NAACP has abandoned the cause of civil rights for the advancement of liberal Democrat politics,” Russo said.
The report will be available online this morning at www.teapartynationalism.com.