On December 28th of last year, Lamar White Jr., the proprietor of a Louisiana based liberal political blog, uncovered this little nugget. White's examination of the white-separatist/neo-Nazi forum 'Stormfront' uncovered a 2002 post from a now deceased member named Alsace Hebert. In this post, Hebert confirmed Scalise's presence at the meeting. He pointed out that Scalise discussed "ways to oversee gross mismanagement of tax revenue or “slush funds” that have little or no accountability" and "graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund."
Now...to Scalise's credit he has not denied being present at this meeting but has since denied any knowledge of the group's white-separatist or Neo-Nazi ties or intentions. He stated that he only had one staffer at the time and if someone called for him to speak at an engagement he would simply go and speak; evidently not vetting or their requests for his presence.
Kenny Knight, a longtime political adviser to Duke, said Scalise spoke at a meeting of the Jefferson Heights Civic Association -- not affiliated with the European-American Unity and Rights conference that was held in the same Metairie hotel -- two-and-a-half hours before the white nationalist event started.
Knight said he rented and paid for the hotel conference room for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, a group founded by Duke. Since he had already paid for the space, Knight said, he decided to also hold his local civic association meeting at the Metairie hotel. He stressed that the two gatherings were not connected.
"Steve Scalise did not address a EURO conference. ... The conference was two-and-a-half hours later," Knight said.
This point is also confirmed by Knight's former girlfriend Barbara Noble.
Barbara Noble, who was dating Knight and said she attended the meeting, also said Wednesday that Scalise spoke to the civic group, not EURO.Knight went on later to say that he "was not a member of EURO and did not arrange for any speakers at the 2002 conference," and that "He only booked and paid for the room as a favor to Duke, a personal friend whose campaigns he had worked on in the late 1980s and early 1990s." The allegation here is that Scalise was not even remotely connected to the EURO conference but that he was there to speak to the Civic Association as Knight alleges.
Scalise apologized this week for speaking to the EURO group, although he said he was unaware of the connections or the group's white supremacy ideology. Scalise has come under fire from some Democratic leaders and others, including calls for him to step down from his leadership position.
This claim can be rudimentarily confirmed by a brochure for the event I found on Snopes.com. It doesn't show Scalise as a booked speaker for the "civil rights workshop" or indicate any connection between him and EURO. Conversely though it does show Knight addressing the workshop which should leave some suspicions as to his claim about the depth of his ties to EURO.
|Photo credit: Snopes.com (Whip Backlash)|
From his personal Facebook page back in July of 2014.
and again from this past holiday season about two weeks before all of this arose,
This is not a confirmation that Scalise had no intimate knowledge of EURO's ideology just to say that it is rather strange for a man of Scalise's belief system, which is in direct contradiction to that of EURO and David Duke, to be knowingly associated with their ilk. However it would be a fair accusation to allege that Scalise was being a political opportunist and just didn't give two shits who he was really addressing, if in fact he did speak to EURO directly and not a civic association as reported earlier.
Regardless of what Scalise's intentions and knowledge were the damage to his political capital as the House Whip and to the GOP in general has been fairly extensive. As the Whip his legitimacy in the area of command and control of the House could be potentially diminished before he get's any chance to actually execute his duties. If pressure does continue to build, it is totally plausible that he will resign the position. For the GOP this situation allows Democratic operatives to push the narrative that they are "old-white racists" looking to bring back slavery with a complicit media to act as the avenue of production. None of this is to say that the GOP should really be worried because the Dems would have done this regardless.
How this unfolds should be prototypical; Democrats screaming about how racist Republicans and Conservatives are and the GOP looking for the first rock to hide under. In other words, just another day up in the Beltway.
Addendum: The semi-liberal (?) blog 'Scholars and Rogues' has a similar and well researched take on the Scalise situation, linked here.
Addendum (2): In the abovementioned post I indicated that I was suspicious about Kenny Knight's claim that his involvement with EURO was periphery at best based on the flier I obtained from Snopes. According to a new report Knight was evidently involved to a great degree than he first indicated to reporters.
The David Duke associate who disavowed membership in a white nationalist group linked to U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise was at one time an officer in that group, according to public records. Kenny Knight told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune on Wednesday that he was not a member of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, but documents filed with the Louisiana secretary of state's office list him as treasurer of its predecessor, the National Organization for European American Rights, in 2000.
Further, a May 16, 2002, news release on an an archived version of EURO's former website, www.whitecivilrights.com, lists Knight as "EURO Louisiana State Representative Kenny Knight." The release says Knight was expected to address the group's May 17-18, 2002, conference...
If you look at the photo of the pamphlet above, it does explicitly state that Knight is indeed addressing the EURO workshop. Not that Knight's credibility was the greatest to begin with but this does blow an even bigger hole in his previous story.