The anti-immigrant movement has attempted to distance itself from criticism since its ties to white nationalism were exposed. However, those distancing efforts have proven to be ineffectual given the anti-immigrant movement’s main political action committee has hired a prominent white nationalist as its manager going into the 2014 election season.
Last year, the US Immigration Reform PAC (USIR) quietly revealed that Tim Dionisopoulos would succeed James R. Edwards – a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) fellow and lobbyist for the anti-immigrant movement – and become the committee’s next manager. Originally operating under the name “FAIR PAC” in reference to John Tanton’s flagship anti-immigrant organization Federation for American Immigration (FAIR), USIR has served as the movement’s campaign contribution arm since the early 1990s. Tanton’s wife, Mary Lou, still serves as the committee’s president.
Dionisopoulos is a graduate of Providence College in Rhode Island. During his time on campus, he founded and led a local chapter of the white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization (YWC). In Providence, Dionisopoulos and YWC were best known for the anti-immigration protests they organized both on and off campus. Dionisopoulos was also a member of Rhode Islanders for Illegal Immigration Enforcement (RIILE) – a FAIR state contact group. After being introduced by RIILE President Terry Gorman during a 2010 Minutemen rally in Rhode Island, Dionisopoulos spoke to the crowd citing the theories of deceased white nationalist Sam Francis.
Dionisopoulos is not the first young white nationalist to hold an official position within the anti-immigrant movement. ProEnglish – a project of the John Tanton-founded U.S. Inc. – is the most notable example, having previously hired YWC member Phil Tignino in 2011. The following year, Tignino left ProEnglish and was replaced by another man with ties to white nationalists Peter J. Lee.
Outside of Rhode Island, Dionisopoulos could be seen contributing to YWC’s presence at conservative conferences, where he would associate with other YWC members across the country. YWC members and leaders Dionisopoulos worked alongside include:
- Kevin DeAnna, YWC founder, who has ties to prominent white nationalists, including Jared Taylor who has authored YWC fundraising letters. DeAnna and Dionisopoulos previously worked together at the Leadership Institute in Washington, DC. The two worked in the Institute’s “Campus Leadership Program” with DeAnna as a field coordinator and Dionisopoulos working for the program’s website Campus Reform. In a January 2010 interview with Campus Reform, DeAnna noted that all YWC chapters are registered with the Leadership Institute.
- Marcus Epstein, former YWC vice-president, who assisted white nationalist Pat Buchanan in researching his 2011 book and previously worked for former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) writing speeches during his 2008 presidential campaign (as an aside, Tandcredo spoke at myriad YWC campus events and served as YWC’s Honorary Chairman). In 2009, The Washington Independent reported that Epstein was arrested in Washington DC after uttering racial slurs, and according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, “delivered a karate chop” to an African-American woman’s head. According to a spokesman for Tancredo’s Team America PAC, Epstein continued to work at for the committee after the incident.
- Matthew Heimbach, who formed a YWC chapter at Maryland’s Towson University. Towson’s YWC chapter later became the White Student Union (WSU) – which Heimbach led – and gained media attention last year for doing nighttime patrols to fend off what WSU described as “black predators.” More recently, Heimbach has moved to the Midwest and formed the Traditionalist Youth Network (TYN). Heimbach’s white nationalist beliefs have become significantly more radical in recent months, having attended recent gatherings of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement and Keystone State Skinheads.
- Devin Saucier, YWC’s second vice president. As the Southern Poverty Law Center notes, Saucier played a role in introducing Richard Spencer, president of the white nationalist National Policy Institute (NPI), to appear at YWC events.
Even in his role as USIR’s manager, Dionisopoulos is maintaining his ties to white nationalists. USIR’s recent filings with the Federal Election Commission note that Dionisopoulos has commissioned ProDezign Studios to revamp USIR’s website. ProDezign is a company owned by Devin Saucier’s brother Austin. While initially founded in Florida, FEC filings indicate ProDezign moved to Whitefish, Montana – Richard Spencer’s hometown – and an apparent test version of the new USIR site is currently housed on ProDezign’s website. An archived version of ProDezign’s website shows that Austin Saucier’s company also created the websites for YWC and Spencer’s Alternative Right. Spencer has affirmed Saucier’s affiliation with NPI in multiple interviews, and in a September 28, 2011 note on Alternative Right, Spencer referred to Saucier as “my partner-in-crime-think.”
Additionally under Dionisopoulos’ stewardship, USIR has already contributed to the campaigns of anti-immigrant hardliners like Rep. Steve King (R-IA), and the Republican gubernatorial campaigns of Tom Tancredo and Tim Donnelly in Colorado and California, respectively.
Quite fittingly, Mark Krikorian of CIS cited Sam Francis’ theory of “anarcho-tyranny” in a blog post on Monday. Tim Dionisopoulos warned of the same theory when citing Francis at that 2010 Minutemen rally in Rhode Island. This year the anti-immigrant movement can continue denying any involvement or connection to white nationalism. They cannot, however, deny the evidence already established and the newly discovered instances unequivocally connecting the two.