Steve Scalise, the new House majority whip of our new, GOP-dominated Congress, admitted today that he spoke at a gathering hosted by white supremacist leaders in 2002.
At the time, Scalise served as a state representative in Louisiana. The GOP assumes control of both congressional chambers in the new year.
The 2002 event was hosted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, also known as EURO. Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke founded the group, which, as the name suggests, is an organization of racists and neo-Nazis. Their whitecivilrights.com website is currently offline, but here's a screengrab via archive.org.
From the Washington Post:
The 48-year-old Scalise, who ascended to the House GOP's third-ranking post earlier this year, confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.
That organization, founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, has been called a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
"Beyond hosting a Web site, whitecivilrights.com, and staging an occasional conference, EURO is a paper tiger, serving primarily as a vehicle to publicize Duke's writing and sell his books," the SPLC writes on its Web site.
News of Scalise's appearance at the 2002 racist gathering was broken by blogger Lamar White Jr., who blogs about Louisiana politics.
"Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, former Louisiana State Representative, and former Republican candidate for Louisiana governor, was attempting to rebrand his movement into something more palatable and less incendiary, and the ambiguous-sounding EURO seemed to do the trick," White blogged.
In White's blog post, you can also view an invitation to the 2002 gathering, at which discounted $89/night hotel rooms were offered for a "workshop on civil rights."
"And from the sound of it," White wrote, "Scalise accomplished what he came there to do: He convinced some vehement white racists and neo-Nazi bigots to vote for him."