Paper Trail: Countering the Center for Immigration Studies’s Lies of Omission

Mark Krikorian, executive director of Center for Immigration Studies

In March 2004, Mark Krikorian wrote the following about his organization, the Center for Immigration Studies, in a piece published on the paleo-Conservative website National Review Online (NRO):

“CIS is not now, nor has it ever been, a recipient of money from a eugenicist foundation called the Pioneer Fund.”

Here’s why that’s a bold-faced lie–of omission.

Fast forward to February 7, 2013, when Krikorian made his most recent appearance on Secure Freedom Radio, the program of the anti-Islam/-Muslim fountainhead Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy. Both accustomed to being surrounded by controversy, Krikorian and Gaffney are close colleagues. Krikorian’s CIS has recently come under intense fire from powerful Conservatives–Sen. Marco Rubio’s office, the Human Life Review journal, Grover Norquist, and others. One could be excused for thinking that Krikorian wouldn’t immediately leap at a chance to reinforce and to remind everyone of his relationship with Gaffney, who himself has been alienated by some powerful Conservative circles over the last year or so.

Yet, leap Krikorian did, and while on Gaffney’s show their conversation eventually turned to Krikorian defending CIS against any-and-all political attacks in his usual condescending, diminishing style that never, ever, lacks the garnish of hyperbolic embellishment:

“The most recent foray into this was a really scurrilous piece in Human Life Review, claiming that immigration restrictionists were all baby-killing abortionists and all the rest of it. It was really kind of outrageous. It doesn’t seem to be having much effect.”

For the record, that’s not at all what HLR‘s report claims; however, since claiming so, in fact, such quote-unquote attacks have had a great effect, indeed, as the leadership of the dominant groups within the established anti-immigrant movement, or lobby, have been forced to respond almost daily to exposures of their bigoted roots.

Importantly, though, is the ease with which they seem to be able to respond; however, for those familiar with the history of these interlocking groups–NumbersUSA, FAIR, and CIS being dominant among them–Krikorian’s past-and-present defenses consistently lapse into displays of selective memory and careful erasures of the nature and significant depth of vital relationships–both organizational and financial.

Present conditions suit Krikorian so well that the redoubts he presents on Gaffney’s radio show are virtually identical to those he penned back in 2004 on NRO. Nearly a decade separates his two defenses of CIS, but compare the following from 2004 to his quite recent quotes cited above:

“Earlier this month the Wall Street Journal ran an outrageous piece — slamming the National Review, Fox News, various Republican congressmen, and my own organization as being part of a restrictionist cabal of baby-killing, white-supremacist, Chi-Com lovers.”

Later in that same piece he issues his denial about CIS having ever received financial support from the Pioneer Fund, which is true.

Kirkorian, though, omits the fact that CIS has received a crucial level of support from two foundations that have supported efforts of eugenics and population-control research. What is also true is that CIS owes the dedicated support of these two foundations to one man–John Tanton, who launched CIS as a project of FAIR back in 1985, only to purposefully force the group in 1986 to split off. This forced split occurred as a way to blur lines of influence and funding and, in doing so, to hopefully insulate CIS from attacks on FAIR and/or any of their sister groups. Krikorian was an employee at FAIR when he accepted the head position at CIS in 1995, as well, and the sustained, continued support of CIS by the Colcom Foundation and the Neil A. McConnell Foundation–far beyond the foundations laid by Tanton–should be solely credited to Kirkorian himself, not Tanton.

The Colcom Foundation, which to this day also continues to support FAIR, NumbersUSA, CIS, and much of the anti-immigrant movement, gifted CIS $4,702,000 between 2002-2010 under the foundation’s “Population-Immigration” funding program. 2012 990 tax forms are not yet available, but alongside no less than seven other John Tanton Network groups, Colcom divulges that, yet again, CIS has been awarded funding. Colcom is, of course, the foundation started by Cordelia Scaife May–a Mellon fortune heiress, long-time friend of Tanton, one-time board member of FAIR, and a twenty-year member of the Board of International Planned Parenthood. A former director at Tanton’s umbrella foundation U.S., Inc., John Rohe is now Colcom’s VP of Philanthropy–the anti-immigrant movement’s man-on-the-inside who’s tasked with doling out piecemeal the foundation’s near $430 million in wealth. Such a huge fan of the Tantons, Rohe authored a published biography of John and his wife, Mary Lou.

According to its 2012 financial statement posted on its website:

“Colcom Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit private foundation to support awareness of major causes and consequences of human population growth on the environment and quality of life in the US [....] Initial funding was provided by Cordelia Scaife May and additional contributions have been received from her estate since her death in January 2005.”

And then there’s the Neil A. McConnell Foundation, which donated CIS $73,000 between 2000-2006 (supporting also FAIR, NumbersUSA, U.S., Inc., and Tanton’s ProEnglish during that period).

In his 2004 defense of CIS, Krikorian acknowledges that “unsavory elements” certainly exist on the “low-immigration side,” i.e his side of the immigration debate; for example, he singles out “white nationalist cranks.” An indisputable example of such a “crank” is Peter Brimelow of the anti-immigrant, white nationalist website VDARE.com. Brimelow is also, apparently, an unlisted member of FAIR’s National Board of Advisors. From 2000-2004 Brimelow is listed as “VP Nominal” on the McConnell Foundation’s 990s. Brimelow and Tanton are long-time colleagues, with Tanton helping Brimelow secure scores of funding during the 1990s to support the writing and distribution of Brimelow’s book, Alien Nation, and for VDARE.

In 1997, Tanton wrote Brimelow a thank-you letter, as Brimelow had duly returned the favor, securing Tanton a $12,500 “director’s grant” from McConnell. In two different memos from that year, Tanton explains to Brimelow that he will use that money to fund his own eugenics-oriented group, the Society for the Advancement of Genetics Education (SAGE).

All this in mind, a good question to pose to Krikorian would be the following: “Has your organization ever at any point received funding from any foundation that supports eugenics research, population-control through immigration restriction, or the advancement of genetics education?” Perhaps he’ll answer as he did on the day he sat before the House Judiciary Committee, also in 2004, when Tanton’s name reared once again:

“He wrote us a check, I think that was years ago [....] We have no institutional relationship.”

And so, there it is again, the basis of the better question: Krikorian can distance himself from Tanton all he wants, but can he distance CIS from Colcom and McConnell–sources of funding that were accepted under his stewardship of CIS, and his stewardship alone?