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Tags: supremacist | EURO | david duke | louisiana | 2002

La. Lawmakers: Steve Scalise Doesn't Have 'Racist Bone in His Body'

La. Lawmakers: Steve Scalise Doesn't Have 'Racist Bone in His Body'
Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. (Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Landov)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 December 2014 08:44 AM EST

Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has joined Louisiana Republicans in coming to the defense of Rep. Steve Scalise, following a report that Scalise spoke to a white supremacist organization when he was a Louisiana state representative in 2002.

"I don't think Steve Scalise has a racist bone in his body," Richmond told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. "Steve and I have worked on issues that benefit poor people, black people, white people, Jewish people. I know his character."

Scalise, who holds the position of Majority Whip, the third highest-ranking Republican in the House, acknowledged Monday that he spoke to the European-American Unity and Rights Organization — known as EURO — while crisscrossing the Bayou State to discuss his tax plan.

EURO was created by former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke.

Scalise spokeswoman Moira Bagley Smith said in a statement to The Washington Post that "throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints. 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," Smith said.

Republicans, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Roger Villere Jr., chairman of the Louisiana Republican Party, quickly jumped to Scalise’s defense.

"I know Congressman Scalise to be a good man who is fair-minded and kindhearted," Jindal said in a statement to The Hill. "I'm confident he absolutely rejects racism in all its forms."

Villere said he has known Scalise for 25 years, during which time he has been an "aggressive advocate for conservative reform." 

He is also, Villere said, "a man of great integrity who embodies his Christian faith in his daily life. This manufactured blogger story is simply an attempt to score political points by slandering the character of a good man."

A blogger named Lamar White Jr., whose blog Cenlamar.com first reported Scalise’s speech to EURO, which is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, wrote that Scalise was referred to as an "honored guest" at the event where he discussed tax policy.

Rep. Yvette Clarke, a New York Democrat who is the second vice-chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is calling for House Speaker John Boehner to investigate "the circumstances involved in Congressman Scalise's participation with the organization."

"It is quite disappointing to learn that in the Twenty-First Century, a member of the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has, in the past and prior to his election to Congress, addressed a white nationalist organization with a history of hostility towards civil rights for people of color, particularly African-Americans, as well as members of the Jewish faith and immigrants,” Clarke said in a statement.

The Hill reports that the Congressional Black Caucus has not issued a statement.

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Rep. Cedric Richmond, a Louisiana Democrat who is a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, has joined Louisiana Republicans in coming to the defense of Rep. Steve Scalise, following a report that Scalise spoke to a white supremacist organization in 2002.
supremacist, EURO, david duke, louisiana, 2002
505
2014-44-30
Tuesday, 30 December 2014 08:44 AM
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