State Senator Tony Perkins addresses the Council of Conservative Citizens in 2001.
Council of Conservative Citizens
(CofCC) is suddenly big news, and for good reason. In a manifesto unearthed in the wake of the horrific Charleston, SC massacre, suspect Dylann Roof credits CofCC
with radicalizing him into a white supremacy belief system.
Blogger Joe Jervis was quick to connect Dot A to Dot B: "Charleston Mass Murderer Researched The Same White Supremacist Group Once Addressed By FRC President Tony Perkins."
Tony Perkins paid David Duke
$82,600 for his mailing list in 1996.
Jervis previously had broken the story of Tony Perkins being fined by the Federal Election Commission. It isn't the crime, it's the coverup, you see. There's nothing illegal about buying a campaign mailing list for $82,600 from Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke
. But it is illegal to lie to the FEC about who you bought your list from, hence Perkins paid his FEC fine.
Hot on the trail of Council of Conservative Citizens and their friends in politics is The Daily Beast. When I saw "The Council Of Conservative Citizens And The Politicians Who Pander To Them" I was hopeful that it was finally "#HoodsOff" moment for Tony Perkins. I hoped his not-too-distant ties to the white supremacy movement would finally gain at least a passing mention in the national, mainstream media.
The Daily Beast documents many who have in some manner been tied to or expressed sympathy for the Council of Conservative Citizens and their white supremacist ideas. The Daily Beast mentions by name: then-Arkansas Lt. Governor Mike Huckabee, GOP Majority leader Trent Lott, Mississippi governor Haley Barbour, Congressman Bob Barr, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, author and activist Ann Coulter.
President Tony Perkins, of
Family Research Council
But alas, once again, conspicuously missing is the giant of the Christian right activism: Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins
. It is hard to see by what criteria Tony Perkins' ties to Council of Conservative Citizens are excluded from being mentioned by The Daily Beast
; long-forgotten Trent Lott and professional clown troll Ann Coulter are deemed relevant. Perkins is certainly at least as influential as anyone in GOP politics. Also Perkins' speaking appearance at Council for Conservative Citizens in 2001 is more recent than many who are mentioned.
If you don't follow LGBT or women's choice politics, Family Research Council may be off your radar; they mostly concern themselves with what gay men do with their dicks, and what all women do with their uteruses. But in 2012 they had about $13.6M in annual revenues (about average for FRC) to pour into politics; of that President Tony Perkins drew about $200,000 in base salary according to IRS 990s. FRC lobbying is a significant driving force behind the tsunami of anti-gay and anti-reproductive choice legislation sweeping the nation.
Via Right Wing Watch:
Since the early 1990's, FRC has emerged as a leading conservative think-tank championing "traditional family values" by lobbying for state-sponsored prayer in public schools, private school "vouchers," abstinence-only programs, filtering software on public library computers, the right to discriminate against gay men and lesbians.
President: Tony Perkins
Date of founding: 1983
Membership: 455,000 members.
Finances: $10 million (2000 revenue*)
Staff: 120 State groups: 40 Publications: Washington Watch (monthly) and Family Policy (bimonthly). Ed Facts (available via fax, e-mail or internet on a weekly basis). CultureFacts (available by fax or e-mail). I.E. (Ideas & Energy) monthly newsletter provides articles on political, social, and cultural trends for high-school students. Also produces numerous issue papers. Radio: Ken Connor's "Washington Watch," a daily radio program hosted by FRC's president. Affiliate groups: American Renewal, Family Policy Councils
*2012 Revenues were $13.6M.
Perkins is both currently relevant and has enough influence and money to affect legislation and elections. (Witness how his disgraced deputy Josh Duggar managed to get up-close and personal for a selfie with virtually every 2016 GOP contender
for the White House.)
Tony Perkins' deputy, Josh Duggar enjoyed enviable access to top Republicans
owing to his position at Family Research Council.
News networks ♥ Christian Tony.
Perkins also has a high profile in the media himself. He is a frequent presence on Fox News, CNN and even MSNBC where his is regularly afforded the credibility of being the spokesperson for all Christian Americans. He will almost certainly find his media dance card full the next few weeks, when the Supreme Court renders constitutional judgment on bans on marriage equality. This white supremacist sympathizer will doubtlessly be front and center, concern-trolling to everyone how America is falling away from traditional morality that this great nation was built upon!
And Perkins ties to white supremacy are not news, they have been well reported and documented in the LGBT media, and more daring progressive blogs. But they just don't break out of the blogosphere and social media even has he is a high-profile face on those same mainstream news networks. Perhaps they are now to embarrassed to admit who they have been pumping up?
A rare moment of accountability came to Perkins recently. Outgoing Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer was among the first mainstream journalists to actually confront Tony Perkins. Schieffer's question was rather mild. He couched in the diminishing "some say you lead a hate group…" frame, rather than confronting Perkins with an actual fact. There is of course, hard evidence journalists could present to Perkins; such as the FEC fine in conjunction with his purchase of David Duke's mailing list, or contemporaneous news reports in 2006 in the Boston Herald of Perkins addressing Council of Conservative Citizens. And Perkins is pretty two-faced on LGBT issues, smiling nicely for mainstream audiences, while spewing hateful rhetoric that would horrify most Americans when he's in safer spaces. He is unfortunately never asked to defend or explain his off-camera words.
Still, the Face The Nation moment was a milestone of questioning Perkins' moral authority to speak on behalf of morality crowd he purports to represent.
Sadly The Daily Beast piece is consistent with a long-noted history of ignoring Perkins' ties to the white-supremacist base.
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