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Tags: Steve Scalise | White Nationalist | 2002 | speaker

Scalise Admits to Speaking at White Nationalist Event in 2002

By    |   Monday, 29 December 2014 05:05 PM EST

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has admitted to speaking at an event hosted by white nationalist leaders in 2002, but says he was unaware of their ideology at the time, The Washington Post reports.

Scalise, currently a congressman from Louisiana, was a state representative at the time when he spoke to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. EURO was founded by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke.

Scalise's spokesperson, Moira Bagley, said that Scalise was not aware of the group's association with racists and neo-Nazis, the Post reported.

"Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints," Bagley's statement read. "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."

Other associates of Scalise told the Post that the then-state senator was touring the state at the time speaking about his efforts to rein in state spending and eliminate slush funds.

One Scalise aide told Politico  the congressman "doesn’t remember speaking to this group and we don’t have any record of his agenda from ’02." Scalise had only one staff member at the time, the aide said.

Bagley said Scalise 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," she said.

Blogger Lamar White Jr.  first uncovered that Scalise had spoken at the event. White reported that Scalise was called an "honored guest" and reported that a commentator using the name "Alsace Hebert" on the organizations now-defunct website said that Scalise had talked about tax policy.

"Representative Scalise brought into sharp focus the dire circumstances pervasive in many important, under-funded needs of the community at the expense of graft within the Housing and Urban Development Fund, an apparent giveaway to a selective group based on race," the commentator is reported to have written.

It is not clear whether Hebert was saying Scalise used the phrase "selective group based on race," or whether that was the commentator's own editorial opinion of Scalise's words.

But two years later, when Duke was in prison for tax evasion and unable to run for Congress himself, Hebert wrote on the site that Scalise would be "a good alternative" candidate because he had appeared at their conference and offered "his support for issues that are of concern to us."

CNN reported that Scalise's office believes the original report was a hit piece by a liberal blogger.

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US
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise has admitted to speaking at an event hosted by white nationalist leaders in 2002, but says he was unaware of their ideology at the time, The Washington Post reports.
Steve Scalise, White Nationalist, 2002, speaker
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2014-05-29
Monday, 29 December 2014 05:05 PM
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