Rep. Steve Scalise, a member of the House Republican leadership, reportedly acknowledged that he addressed a conference of white supremacists in 2002 when he was a Louisiana state representative.
Scalise, who was elected as Whip earlier this year, told the Washington Post that he attended a convention hosted by the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, which the Southern Poverty Law Center says is a hate-group founded in 2000 by former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana state Representative David Duke.
Scalise’s spokesperson Moira Bagley told the Post that Scalise was unaware of the group’s racist ideology and spoke about reining in government spending. She added that the group is “abhorrent” and “in stark contradiction” to what Scalise believes, according to the Post.
“Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints,” Bagley told the Post. “In every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around. In 2002, he made himself available to anyone who wanted to hear his proposal to eliminate slush funds that wasted millions of taxpayer dollars as well as his opposition to a proposed tax increase on middle-class families.”
She added, “He has never been affiliated with the abhorrent group in question. The hate-fueled ignorance and intolerance that group projects is in stark contradiction to what Mr. Scalise believes and practices as a father, a husband, and a devoted Catholic.”
Scalise’s attendance at the EURO event was reported first by Lamar White Jr., a Louisiana politics blogger who cited “recently uncovered posts on Stormfront, the Internet’s oldest and most notorious white nationalist and neo-Nazi forum.”