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White Nationalists Defend “Immigrant Reform” Organization

Eric Ward • Sep 10, 2008

A chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC), one of the most influential white nationalist organizations in the US, is seeking to defend the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) from open charges of injecting racism into the national discussion on immigration.

On its blog the Tennessee chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens has used anti-Latino stereotypes in attempt to challenge the credibility of the National Council of La Raza, which only strengthens CofCC’s investments in a national deepening of its ties to FAIR and their activities.

However, at present, FAIR is conversely attempting to separate and to distance itself from the Council of Conservative Citizens amidst a catalog of reports that FAIR staffers and board members have continually collaborated with CofCC and its members.

According to the Center for New Community, “FAIR staffers have spoken at CofCC events and shared the stage with CofCC leaders. At least one FAIR staffer is even reported to be a CofCC member.”   In its report on FAIR, the Center for New Community details several examples of the numerous intricacies weaving  the CofCC/FAIR alliance together:

  • Former FAIR Western Regional Coordinator Rick Oltman was described as a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens in the Winter 1997/1998 edition of the Citizens Informer, CofCC’s flagship publication;
  • In 1997 Oltman actually shared the podium with Virginia Abernethy at the Council of Conservative Citizens conference. Oltman and Abernethy sat together on a panel entitled “Immigration – Are We Being Overrun?”;
  • At a January 17th, 1998, anti-immigration rally in Cullman, Alabama, Oltman shared the podium with Council of Conservative Citizens leadership and with William Burchfield, a onetime Alabama state leader of Thom Robb’s Knights of the Ku Klux Klan;
  • According to the Citizens Informer, FAIR Field Coordinator Dave Ray was a scheduled guest speaker at a March 11th, 1997, Central Alabama CofCC meeting;
  • FAIR’s weekly television show, Borderline, has featured white nationalist leaders such as the late Sam Francis, a major figurehead within the Council of Conservative Citizens who prior to his death served as Associate Editor of The Occidental Quarterly.  The show has featured Jared Taylor of the CofCC, as well, who also heads the New Century Foundation, which publishes the racist journal American Renaissance;
  • FAIR staffer Jim Staudenraus shared the stage with Jared Taylor of the CofCC and American Renaissance at a September 7, 2002, anti-immigration conference;
  • CofCC members have also participated in several of FAIR’s “Immigration Reform Awareness Week” lobbying events.

Controversial FAIR founder and current board member John Tanton maintains his own special relationship with the Council of Conservative Citizens, as well:

  • In 1990 Tanton congratulated CofCC member Jared Taylor on his upcoming newsletter by stating, “You are saying a lot of things that need to be said, but I anticipate it will be very tough sledding.”
  • In 1991 CofCC member Wayne Lutton received a personal invitation from Tanton to attend an event stemming from a FAIR board meeting by complimenting Lutton’s hate-inspired work: “I’ve been a reader of your materials for some time, and hope that we can meet some day. Is there any chance that you could come up and join us?”

With these details in mind, as scrutinizing public attention on the Federation for American Immigration Reform continues to intensify, we can expect the extent of FAIR’s relationships with political extremists — including noted white supremacists — to become increasingly apparent.

However, no amount of distance, either literal or figurative, will ever be vast enough to erase FAIR’s courting of America’s racial extremists.

That won’t stop them from trying, though.

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