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Last Updated February 4, 1999

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Introduction by Mark Pitcavage

What follows is a chronology of events and reporting of a peculiar scandal surrounding Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Georgia Congressman Robert "Bob" Barr over the nature and extent of connections they may have had with a racist group known as the Council of Conservative Citizens. This group, sporting about 15,000 members, mostly in the South, is essentially a descendant of the white Citizens’ Councils that formerly opposed integration in the South. Headed by Gordon Lee Baum, a St. Louis lawyer, its issues involve the protection of "European-American" heritage against the hordes of minorities.

To someone who follows the extreme right, as I do, what happened in the winter of 1998-99 was not really "news," for the Council had long trumpeted its association with politicians such as Trent Lott. Outside the circles of the extreme right, however, this was not widely known. When it was brought to the attention of the mainstream media, it became big news. The situation is reminiscent of the 1996 presidential primary season, when one of Patrick Buchanan’s campaign chairmen was forced to resign after his ties with white supremacist and other extremist groups became known to the mainstream media. Watchdog groups, of course, had long known Larry Pratt’s extensive involvement with the extreme right.

Nevertheless, it is indeed an important issue that major leaders in the United States have been accused of connections with racist groups. We should be pleased that the media has given it the attention that it has.

To allow someone to follow the scandal and its history, I have provided this chronology, based on public source information. The dates in the chronology are actually the dates in which the articles on which the chronology is based were printed, not the date that Person X said Quote Y. This was done to allow people to find the articles more easily. One exception is that Associated Press reports are usually released on the same day, not the day after. This is also true of television shows.

There are other relevant sites, too:


I have also included some other materials along with this chronology, taken from the Militia Watchdog archives. These include:

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I have tried to keep my own opinions largely out of the following material, though that was not entirely possible. Also, on a few occasions I have included explanatory material in brackets. This was not done often. I should also note that I have tried to avoid repetition as much as possible. Therefore, although many of the below stories included lengthy reiterations of the basic facts, I have usually limited my summaries to "new" or "different" material offered by such stories or editorials. As a result, the chronology is best read chronologically.

I will make a few, limited observations of the scandal so far:

  • There is absolutely no doubt that the Council of Conservative Citizens is a racist organization and it doesn’t take much exposure at all to the organization or any of its materials in order to understand this.
  • Of the three major politicians implicated in the scandal, Bob Barr is probably the one who deserves the least criticism. His connection appears to have been limited to one event, and it is true, as he has said, that some of the literature he was given (you can see one example for yourself) is not overt about racism. Moreover, and to his credit, he has strongly denounced the Council multiple times and been quick to do so.
  • Trent Lott’s connections are much harder to defend. They clearly go back years and involve some intimate associates. Moreover, Trent Lott’s actions since the scandal developed have been inexcusable, attempting to obfuscate and deny rather than to admit the truth.
  • Not criticized nearly enough has been Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice, who is unrepentant about his connections to the Council. Do we really want someone friendly to such an organization as governor of one of our great states?
  • A number of Democrats have attempted to use this scandal for partisan purposes, as the reader will discover, such as smearing all Republicans because of the actions of a few, or attempting to defend Bill Clinton by tarring Bob Barr. I do not think an issue of this magnitude should be tarnished by resorting to partisan politics. If a number of prominent Republicans can criticize Trent Lott, for instance, as they have, then Democrats can certainly be equally mature about this serious situation.

That’s it for my editorializing. The major purpose of this section is to provide you, the reader, with enough information so that you can make yourself informed on this issue.



March 4, 1991. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Arkansas members of the Council of Conservative Citizens are giving considerable sums of money to St. Louis school board candidates who oppose busing. Heber Helvenston, 64, a retired insurance and real estate agent in Little Rock, Arkansas, gives $200, suggesting others will also donate. Another council member, John O. Casteel, of Newport, Arkansas, gives $1,000….Reports the Dispatch: "[Jesse Helms], a Republican who is widely considered one of the most conservative members of Congress, is on the advisory board of the Council of Conservative Citizens."

July 19, 1993, The Hollywood Reporter reports that Vincent Tokatlian, a Santa Monica-base chiropractor who claims to represent the Council of Conservative Citizens, has sent a letter to CBS complaining that there are too many blacks on TV. "Blacks are only 12 percent of the population but have 20 percent to 30 percent of the faces on TV," wrote Tokatlian, who claimed that there was "a carefully orchestrated campaign by the NAACP and other groups in the media to over-represent the blacks in the national picture." The Council of Conservative Citizens, Tokatlian said, represents a "large number of people who are more and more turning off the TV when these black propaganda-agenda shows come on."

April 4, 1994. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette states that the Council of Conservative Citizens has invited Lt. Gov. Mike Huckabee to speak at an April 16 seminar. However, Huckabee soon discovers that another invited speaker is North Carolinian Kirk Lyons, a lawyer with intimate ties to the white supremacist movement and who specializes in defending various white supremacist and anti-government extremist activists. When asked about Lyon’s presence, Gordon Baum, "chief executive office" of the Council of Conservative Citizens, says "What’s that got to do with us?…We’re not the thought police." As a result, Huckabee declines to speak, saying that "I will not share the stage…with someone who thinks the Holocaust didn’t happen." According to a CCC newsletter, other scheduled speakers are attorney general candidate Dan Ivy and former state representative Bill Kerr. When contacted, Ivy says he was never invited, but Kerr avers that he is willing to participate.

July 15, 1994. In The Washington Times, Samuel Francis (an ultraconservative commentator whose syndicated column appears in publications such as the anti-Semitic Spotlight) announces a "genuine conservative movement." "No one hears much about the Council of Conservative Citizens just now," he writes, "but before too long you will."

September 5, 1994. The Associated Press covers a rally at Hilton Head Island in favor of keeping the Confederate flag on the state capitol building. The rally, consisting of some 400 people, is addressed by William Carter, president of the South Carolina state chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. "If we can have a Martin Luther King Day, a black history month, why can’t we have the Confederate battle flag fly above the Statehouse?" Carter was formerly the state campaign manager for former Nazi and Klansman David Duke’s presidential campaign.

November 15, 1994. In an editorial, the Greensboro, North Carolina, News & Record states that "Harold Brubaker puts his reputation as a mainstream conservative Republican in jeopardy." Brubaker is a North Carolinian politician due to become the speaker of the state legislature, but he becomes the focus of much ire when he gives a speech in November to a Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in Winston-Salem. According to the editorial, "among the planners of the meeting was a former chairman of the Populist Party, which engineered the presidential campaign of former KKK grand dragon David Duke." States the newspaper, "if [Brubaker] expects to be an effective leader working for the good of all the people, he needs to beware of unintended associations with extremists." Other invitees included Jared Taylor, editor of "American Renaissance," a notorious racist journal, and Kirk Lyons.

July 11, 1995. The Times-Picayune reports a speech by David Duke to an "all-white audience at Clemson University in South Carolina," in which he stated that white Americans are fighting for their survival. The speech, attended by about 70 people, is actually a fund-raiser for the South Carolina Council of Conservative Citizens.

February 22, 1996. Roll Call Magazine reports that a controversy involving Patrick Buchanan’s campaign manager, Larry Pratt, whose well-known extremist ties landed him in trouble and eventually resulted in his departure from the campaign, has "spilled over" into other elections. One such Republican primary is that for a Mississippi congressional seat vied for by Mike Gunn, a Mississippi state senator who not only has been endorsed by Larry Pratt’s radical Gun Owners of America group, but is also an enthusiastic supporter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. States Roll Call, "links to white supremacists are particularly sensitive for Gunn, whose direct-mail firm, Gunn & Associates, was hired by former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke in his bid for Louisiana governor in 1991." Gunn was also a speaker at the November 1994 Council of Conservative Citizens meeting in Winston-Salem, North Carolina (see above).

February 23, 1996. Associated Press reveals the removal of one of Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign workers. William Carter, a member of Buchanan’s South Carolina steering committee, is removed after it is discovered that Carter was state chairman for David Duke’s 1992 presidential campaign. Carter is also chairman of the South Carolina Council of Conservative Citizens, which he describes as "slightly to the right of Buchanan."

July 2, 1996. Trent Lott is the focus of an article in the Village Voice by Clare Saliba, which reports that "when Trent Lott was elected the new Senate majority leader earlier this month, no group was happier for the tough and abrasive Mississippi pol than the little-known Council of Conservative Citizens. Started in 1990, the St. Louis-based COCC urges staunch conservative candidates to change the face of politics by running for public office. Lott has long been a supporter of the COCC and has spoken at its seminars." The Voice article focuses on the connections between the Council of Conservative Citizens and the infamous "Citizens’ Councils" that fought so hard to oppose integration. Saliba quotes CCC leader Gordon Baum as saying, "We support most of Trent Lott’s philosophy," and that they "mesh on issues 95 per cent of the time."

September 8, 1996. The Baton Rouge Advocate reports on the controversy after Louisiana Senate Secretary Mike Baer removed a Confederate battle flag from a hall in the state capitol building. Baer has been deluged with complaints from the Council of Conservative Citizens and other Neo-Confederate groups. One of the Council’s representatives in the battle is Kenny Knight, a past spokesman for the National Association for the Advancement of White People. Knight, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune on September 11, 1996, is a longtime friend of former KKK leader David Duke.

October 29, 1996. The Charleston Post and Courier reports a story about two white men charged in a drive-by [nonfatal] shooting of three black teens after attending a Confederate flag rally hosted by the Council of Conservative Citizens. A follow-up story reveals that the two suspects are also Klan members, according to the local Klan grand dragon. Samuel Dantzler, state director of the Council, says that neither of the men were invited to or attended the event.

January 29, 1997. The New York Daily News story publishes a story by Lars-Erik Nelson revealing that when the records of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission are opened, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott will be discovered in the membership rolls. "The only hint of the bad old days comes," states the article, when Lott "praises—and is warmly praised by—the Council of Conservative Citizens, widely regarded as successor to the White Citizens Councils."

April 7, 1997. The Montgomery Advertiser reports on a rally at the state capitol building in support of Etowah County Judge Roy Moore, who has refused to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom, as well as in support of Governor Fob James, who has backed Moore. The central Alabama Council of Conservative Citizens was originally one of the sponsors of the event, but withdrew its sponsorship after the Mobile Register happened to notice the "racially charged commentary" on the group’s Internet website, which included, according to the New York Times, warnings on the imminence of a "mongrel race" and "multiracial mafias."

November 18, 1997. According to a story in the Greensboro, North Carolina, News & Record, the mayor-elect of the town of Winston-Salem is forced to apologize for having "sparked a racial fire." The mayor-elect, Jack Cavanagh, caused a controversy when he appeared at the national conference of the Council of Conservative Citizens, praised that group, and saluted the Confederate battle flag with a Nazi-style salute. Cavanagh told the Council that it was "the backbone of America." The next day Cavanagh apologized, pleading "ignorance of the group’s beliefs." The News & Record notes that Council state president A. J. Barker campaigned for David Duke in his 1992 presidential bid. An editorial on Cavanagh’s actions notes that Cavanagh "professed ignorance of the group’s far-right views and insisted that none of the anti-black and anti-Jewish epithets in the air at that meeting had fallen on his ears."

November 20, 1997. An editorial by Edward Cone in the Greensboro, North Carolina, News & Record, headed, "Judge Our Politicians By Company They Keep," asks "Why do Winston-Salem’s mayor-elect and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott hang out with racists?" Complains Cone, tongue in cheek, "those darn liberal media—it’s getting so an elected official can’t even give a Naziesque salute to the Confederate battle flag without getting reamed in the press the next day." Cone’s point is simple: "Make no mistake about the St. Louis-based Council of Conservative Citizens: this is an organization that proudly promulgates racist views. The CofCC likes to dress up its message in sophisticated language and hold its conferences in fancy hotels, but its core ideology would be in the mainstream at a Klan rally. Even the name would seem to be a deliberate echo of the segregationist Citizens Councils of the '50s and '60s. According to the CofCC website, these guys don't even like the Promise Keepers, the evangelical men's group, because PK kisses up to Catholics and ‘grovels’ to blacks. They recently named former Georgia governor and arch-segregationist Lester Maddox ‘Patriot of the Century.’" Cone notes that in addition to Cavanagh, Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice and Alabama Governor Guy Hunt have addressed previous national conventions, and that Mississippi Senator Trent Lott is "another honored guest."

December 23, 1997. The Charleston, South Carolina, Post and Courier reports that a black teenager and honor student in Colleton County was shot in the chest, not fatally, by an "armed defender of a roadside Confederate flag sign." The signs had been printed by the South Carolina Heritage Coalition and distributed by the Council of Conservative Citizens.

April 13, 1998. Ultraconservative syndicated columnist Samuel Francis (see above) attributes to "the pungent odor of cowardice" the fact that the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, "disinvited" the Council of Conservative Citizens from its gathering.

June 5-6, 1998. The Council of Conservative Citizens holds its semi-annual meeting, this time in Charleston, South Carolina. Speakers include Jared Taylor, editor of the racist publication American Renaissance, who tells the audience that "There are only two questions: Does America need more people and, if so, what kind of people?" Brent Nelson, of the University of Arkansas, is another speaker, lamenting that "Northern Virginia, Florida and South Texas are now outside the Anglo-Celtic circle and are being lost of Dixie to Third World immigrants." Yet another speaker is Georgia Congressman Robert (Bob) Barr, there to talk about impeachment.

October 4, 1998. In a letter to the conservative Washington Times, concerned citizen Margaret L. Kempf complains about the just-published Council of Conservative Citizens newsletter ("The Citizens Informer") which featured a "smiling Rep. Bob Barr" addressing their conference and board meeting the previous June. Kempf says that it "is disgusting that Mr. Barr, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, would associated himself with the Council of Conservative Citizens," and suggests that Council supporters are "first cousins to the Ku Klux Klan." Also of concern are the articles in the newsletter, which feature smears of Martin Luther King, articles about interracial marriage, affirmative action, and similar race-preoccupied subjects. One article in particular that Kempf objects to is a column by Robert Patterson that "glorified white civilization and urged that it not be polluted by black men marrying white women." Kempf relates that twice she called Barr’s office and twice "received the same denial of his association."

December 9, 1998. The New York Post describes a "two-day screaming match" on radio station WABC between radio host Sean Hannity and attorney Alan Dershowitz that started "after Dershowitz appeared on Hannity’s show to claim he has proof that House Judiciary Committee member Robert Barr (R. –Ga.) is a racist." Of concern to Dershowitz was Barr’s address to the Council of Conservative Citizens.

December 11, 1998. The Washington Post (in the first of a number of articles written on the subject by Thomas Edsall) reports that a spokesman for Robert Barr acknowledged that Barr was indeed a keynote speaker at a meeting of the Council of Conservative Citizens on June 6 in Charleston, S.C. The acknowledgement came after Alan Dershowitz, a detractor of Barr’s outspoken advocacy of impeachment for President Bill Clinton, wrote a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde (sent to Hyde on December 4, but not made public for several days) stating that "Congressman Barr, who was fully aware of this organization's racist and anti-Semitic agenda, not only gave the keynote address to the CCC's national board, but even allowed himself to be photographed literally embracing one of their national directors." Barr responded in a letter to Hyde that Dershowitz’s "accusations are unfounded and deplorable." The Post also included a snippet from the Council’s website, which it characterized as "dominated by material portraying the ‘white race’ as under siege." The snippet, written by "H. Millard," used a peculiar metaphor: "Take 10 bottles of milk to represent all humans on earth. Nine of them will be chocolate and only one white. Now mix all those bottles together and you have gotten rid of that troublesome bottle of white milk. There too is the way to get rid of the world of whites. Convince them to mix their few genes with the genes of the many. Genocide via the bedroom chamber is as long lasting as genocide via war."

December 11, 1998. Joan Walsh, writing for Salon Magazine, describes the Council of Conservative Citizens’ newsletter featuring "photographs of a smiling Barr posed with organization leaders, in among ads hawking Confederate flags, demanding immigration reform and preaching ‘Integration is genocide.’" Walsh also reveals that in Dershowitz’s letter to Henry Hyde, the law professor pointed out that Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Mike Huckabee canceled a scheduled speech before the CCC when he learned what the organization stood for, but Barr did not.

December 11, 1998. A press-release from Bob Barr’s office characterizes the Council of Conservative Citizens scandal as "a scorched-earth campaign to smear members of the House Judiciary Committee with false allegations." States Barr, "I am adamantly opposed to discrimination in any way, shape or form. For the President’s henchmen to suggest otherwise, based on a brief appearance I made before a group in South Carolina to discuss the impeachment process, is outrageous. The fact is, I strongly disagree with many of this group’s ridiculous views, and have said so publicly." Barr claimed that the revelations were a deliberate attempt to smear his character shortly before a vote on impeachment. "This is truly a sad, sad day for America," he said.

December 11, 1998. A story in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution reveals more of Bob Barr’s reaction to the Council scandal. Barr tells the reporter that "he had no idea that the group held such ‘outrageous views,’" and that "anyone who knows me knows that I don’t think that way." Barr suggests that "when you get a request from the party’s national committeeman, you have little reason not to think they are a legitimate group."

December 12, 1998. The Associated Press reports that the White House has responded to Bob Barr’s accusations that it was Clinton’s defenders who were falsely accusing him of being a racist with puzzlement. "There appears to be no despicable conduct the president’s defenders will not stoop to in order to protect him," Barr had said in his statement. White House spokesman Joe Lockhart says "I frankly don’t know what they are talking about. We have taken some offense to some of the charges that have been leveled against us here at the White House, but I think in the heat of the moment people make charges." The article also brings up the fact that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott has spoken to the group in the past. But Lott’s spokesman, John Czwartacki, says Lott "has no recollection of involvement" with the group since accepting a speaking engagement years ago. He says Lott "has no firsthand knowledge of the group’s views."

December 12, 1998. The Washington Post reports that Bob Barr claimed to have attended the CCC meeting in Charleston at the rest of Buddy Witherspoon, Republican national committeeman for South Carolina. Barr claims that had he known their views, he never would have attended the session, but the material he was supplied indicated that it was a mainstream conservative grass-roots group, and that it had endorsements from figures such as Trent Lott, Kirk Fordice and Jesse Helms. However, the Post notes that CCC leader Gordon Lee Baum claims that Barr was given copies of the organization’s newsletter before his speech. "He knew what we were all about before he spoke to us," Baum says. "We don’t invite people and let them walk into the dark on us." The Post also focuses on Trent Lott’s relationship to the Council of Conservative Citizens. It reveals that "some officials of the CCC and some newspaper articles have also described Lott as a member of the CCC," but quotes a Lott spokesman as saying Lott "does not consider himself to be a member of this group and has no firsthand knowledge of the group’s views." One CCC leader identifying Lott as a member is Mark Cerr, head of the National Capital branch of the CCC, who describes Lott "as an active member who has spoken to the group in the past." Cerr also claims that Bob Barr was aware of the views of CCC leaders and members. Cerr puts his own views on race thusly: "I would separate the races by having non-Europeans sent back to the Third World." Cerr also notes that just before Barr spoke at the Charleston meeting, the racial views of some of the members were made explicit at a "youth panel" chaired by syndicated columnist Sam Francis. "Barr sat through that," states Cerr. When asked by the Post, Barr confirms that he heard the youth panel discussion and said it "gave me serious pause," but he decided "I was there and I would speak to them and leave." Barr denied having been given material that showed the CCC’s racial views.

December 12, 1998. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution continues the examination of Bob Barr’s awkward defense, reporting on his December 11 appearance on CNN to deny knowledge of the positions of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Alan Dershowitz is not convinced, stating that "either Bob Barr is the stupidest man in Congress, the most mendacious, or both. I don’t for a minute believe that he didn’t know about this group." Barr, however, tells the Journal that he first learned about the racist vies when he listened to a panel before his speech. "I heard some troubling remarks about immigration and race," he admits.

December 16, 1998. Washington Post reporter Thomas Edsall reveals that although Trent Lott the previous week had claimed "no firsthand knowledge" of the Council of Conservative Citizens, in fact six years ago he told the group’s members that they "stand for the right principles and the right philosophy." When confronted with this information, from a 1992 issue of the group’s newsletter, Lott through his spokesman John Czwartacki renounced the organization. "This group harbors views which Senator Lott firmly rejects. He has absolutely no involvement with them either now or in the future," stated the spokesman. His comments said little about the extent of Lott’s past involvement.

December 16, 1998. Cynthia Tucker writes an editorial for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution noting that Bob Barr, "Georgia’s leading Clintonphobe, is trying to distance himself from the peculiar and racist utterances of the Council of Conservative Citizens, claiming he had no idea that the council was a group of white supremacists obsessed with the purity of the white race." Tucker notes that the Council has not been similarly trying to distance itself from Barr, but has "gleefully" welcomed new visitors to its website who learned of its existence because of the controversy. Assuming, "for the sake of this exercise," that Barr indeed had no idea what the CCC stood for, Tucker says, "There is still this to consider: Why did the group choose Barr? Its members knew what he stood for, didn’t they? Those right-wing extremists who are engaged in a jihad against the rest of us have a way of picking one another out."

December 18, 1998. The Associated Press records that Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Patrick Kennedy confronted Bob Barr outside the House chamber, incensed that Bar had quoted Kennedy’s uncle, John F. Kennedy, on the floor as Barr spoke in favor of the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Referring to Barr’s appearance before the Council of Conservative Citizens, Kennedy stated that "anybody who has been to a racist meeting like that has no right to quote my uncle."

December 19, 1998. Washington Post editorial writer Colbert King asserts that "when the Senate convenes in January, its first order of business should be to review Majority Leader Trent Lott’s fitness to serve as guiding light of the world’s most deliberative body." King is particularly upset that Lott denied "firsthand knowledge" of the group’s views, yet was discovered to have spoken numerous times to them in the past, and even to have endorsed the group in a "suck-up speech to a council gathering" in 1992. Moreover, King explains, "on my desk is a copy of a page from the 1997 Citizens Informer with a smiling Trent Lott pictured meeting" with various CCC leaders.

December 19, 1998. The Washington Post reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a report, "Sharks in the Mainstream," charging that the Council of Conservative Citizens is the "reincarnation of the infamous White Citizens Councils." The Law Center also reveals that the chairman of the Washington, D.C., chapter of the CCC, a man who goes by the name of Mark Cerr, is actually Mark Cotterill, a former member of the British neo-fascist organization The National Front, as well as its successor, the British National Party.

December 20, 1998. In a profile of Bob Barr, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution also reveals that Barr has spoken before the John Birch Society on several occasions.

December 21, 1998. The Anti-Defamation League issues a press release noting that the Council of Conservative Citizens will feature white supremacist David Duke at its next meeting in Washington, D.C., on January 2, 1999. Also speaking at the CCC meeting will be Edward Fields, the publisher of "The Truth at Last" [one of the most virulently racist publications in America]. "The CCC cloaks itself in the mantle of conservatism to mask its underlying racist agenda," the press release quotes ADL national director Abraham Foxman as saying. "No one should be duped into believing that they are mainstream conservatives. A look at the record clearly reveals who they are and what they really stand for." The press release goes on to give numerous examples, taken from its website, newsletter and other sources, of the Council’s racism.

December 22, 1998. An editorial by Juan Gonzalez in the New York Daily News suggests that Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott "should explain some of his own words and actions before he starts judging Clinton." Specifically, Gonzalez is concerned about Lott’s ties with the Council of Conservative Citizens, noting that a 1992 edition of the CCC newsletter carries a front-page photo of Lott addressing 400 members of the group in Mississippi and quotes him as saying: "The people in this room stand for the right principles and the right philosophy. Let’s take it in the right direction, and our children will be the beneficiaries." Gonzalez then quotes a Lott spokesman as saying that Lott "has absolutely no involvement with them either now or in the future." However, CCC leader Gordon Baum told the Daily News that Lott spoke at CCC events in Mississippi in 1991 and 1995. And Gonzalez further notes newspaper reports that Lott met with Baum and other CCC leaders in his Washington office.

December 22, 1998. The Anti-Defamation League issues a press release saying that Bob Barr had assured them that he found the white supremacy views of the Council of Conservative Citizens "repugnant." Barr told the League that he had written the president of the CCC’s Washington chapter, "denouncing the organization’s racist vies" and "urged them to be more forthright with their speakers, rather than engaging n a disingenuous effort to legitimize these outlandish views by wrongly associating elected officials, such as myself and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott."

December 23, 1998. Stanley Crouch, a liberal columnist for the New York Daily News, editorializes that "if the media do their job seriously, the next to go will be Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia."

December 24, 1998. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution reports that civil rights activists demonstrated outside Bob Barr’s Georgia office, demanding his resignation because of his address to the Council of Conservative Citizens. The Rev. Markel Hutchins, president of the National Youth Connections, described the CCC as an "exclusive organization of whites directly linked to the Ku Klux Klan…a racist, anti-immigration, anti-Semitic, terrorist and militia organization of violent people." [the CCC denies all such characterizations, particularly those alleging anti-Semitism and violence]

December 27, 1998. Continuing his attacks on Bob Barr and Trent Lott, New York Daily News Columnist says that "I continue to write about the racist connections of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott of Mississippi and Georgia Republican Bob Barr because it would be irresponsible to do otherwise." What irks Crouch is that Lott and Barr have tried to distance themselves from the Council of Conservative Citizens. "Only a fool would swallow that," he asserts, "especially since Brother Lott’s uncle has been a long-time member of the CCC. Rep. Cynthia McKinney of Georgia says that those who live in the South are absolutely sure the CCC is nothing but a bunch of neo-Confederates. Yet the media, still at the collective bedroom keyhole, seem more interested in soiled sheets than worn sheets." But Crouch approvingly quotes Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan’s former speech writer, who stated that "any man or woman who is supportive of and helpful to a blatantly racist organization doesn’t belong in a leadership position in America, no matter what group the racists have put their focus on. We have to get all of this behind us. We cannot put up with this from any persuasion or from any quarter."

December 30, 1998. Liberal syndicated columnist Molly Ivins writes a column speaking out against the association of Barr and Lott with the Council of Conservative Citizens, noting that they had been banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference and that CPAC head David Keene had told the Washington Post that they had been banned because of their racism. Quoting the claims of CCC leader Gordon Lee Baum that Barr was aware of the CCC’s views, Ivins concludes that Barr "must have known who these folks were." As for the Senate Majority Leader, "Lott’s denials were just as trustworthy as Barr’s. He first claimed to have ‘no firsthand knowledge’ of the Council of Conservative Citizens or its views. Yet when he gave the keynote address at the group’s 1992 meeting in Greenwood, Mississippi, Lott told members that they ‘stand for the right principles and the right philosophy.’"

December 30, 1998. The New York Daily News’s Stanley Crouch expresses his frustration with Trent Lott’s reticence: "I’ve called Lott’s office to get his statement on these matters and left messages but have not heard back. Barr’s office immediately faxed me the congressman’s letter of attack on the CCC and his repudiation of its racial philosophy."

December 31, 1998. An editorial in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reflects that "there is such a thing as bad judgment and there is such a thing as no judgment at all." Guilty of the latter are Trent Lott, Kirk Fordice and Bob Barr. "All three..have given speeches before the Council of Conservative Citizens, a group whose public statements give off a strong smell of ignorance and bigotry." The simple and obvious fact, states the Journal Sentinel, is that they "should never have associated themselves with the CCC, ever. If they had shown even a trace of judgment, they would never have found themselves at the center of criticism that they richly deserve."

January 2, 1999. Gordon Lee Baum writes to the Washington Post complaining about the articles by Thomas Edsall on the Council of Conservative Citizens. "It is not accurate to describe the organization as a ‘white supremacy’ group," Baum states, nor is it accurate to say that "some of its leaders support segregation." Baum explains that the group speaks out for white European Americans, but does "not advocate or support the oppression or exploitation of other races or ethnic groups."

January 3, 1999. The New York Times reports on David Duke’s arrival in Washington, D.C., to raise money for his candidacy for Bob Livingston’s Louisiana Congressional seat. "If we lose European-Americans, we lose America," Duke said during his hour-long speech. Fellow speaker and racist Edward Fields claimed that "This country has been gutted by Jews who vote Democrat." According to the Times, event organizer Mark Cotterill said that many in the audience were members of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Cotterill had recently resigned as chairman of the national capital region and stressed that the event was not sponsored by the Council. Cotterill said he stepped down, in part, because the organization regarded Duke and Fields as "too controversial."

January 4, 1999. A Richmond Times Dispatch editorial is titled simply "IDIOTS." "And we use that term in the derogatory sense," it adds. The term is used to refer to Bob Barr and Trent Lott, "who have been revealed as far too cozy with a racist organization called the Council of Conservative Citizens," of whose "vile views there can be no doubt." The Times Dispatch notes that Republicans quickly and rightly jump on mainstream civil-rights leaders who toady up to Lewis Farrakhan, and suggests that Republicans ought to get the same treatment "when they toady up to right-wing ravers."

January 4, 1999. The January 4/January 11 issue of the New Republic features an essay by Jason Zengerle on Bob Barr’s "credibility gap," noting that what should have been Barr’s day in the sun (the impeachment) instead resulted in "an embarrassing little scandal of his own." Zengerle claims that the "real issue" is that "when confronted with questions about his wrongdoing, he lied to cover it up," thus comparing Barr to Bill Clinton. The essayist provides background about the Council of Conservative Citizens, noting that one of its newsletter’s columnists is Robert B. Patterson, founder of the pro-segregation Mississippi Citizens’ Council, who wrote in a recent issue that "any effort to destroy the white race by a mixture of black blood is an effort to destroy western civilization itself." Then Zengerle asks, "What did Barr know…and when did he know it?" He quotes Gordon Baum as saying, "We don’t invite people out of the dark who are not familiar with us, particularly a high-profile person. So copies of our newspaper were sent to him and our brochure. If he looked at it I presume he had knowledge of what it was about." But Barr denied to The New Republic that he had received the newspaper. Zengerle also takes issue with Barr’s claim that the representative went to the meeting, gave the presentation, then "left right after." He quotes CCC leader Tom Dover as saying that Barr spent "the balance of the time" at the conference "visiting with people" after the speech. Another issue raised is Barr’s press release stating that he strongly disagreed "with many of this group’s ridiculous views, and have said so publicly." When asked to point to previous statements of his disagreement with the CCC, Zengerle writes, Barr explained "that what he meant to say was that he had publicly repudiated the ‘views, not the group.’" The New Republic also quotes CCC leader Dover as saying that Trent Lott was a "dues-paying member" of the group. When Zengerle asked Baum about this issue, Baum replied that "We don’t deny or confirm whether anybody’s a member. If Trent Lott says he’s not a member, then put it to bed: he’s not a member."

January 6, 1999. New York Daily News writer Stanley Crouch compares the Republicans to Nazis over the Council of Conservative Citizens scandal. "When Austrian politician Kurt Waldheim was accused of having been a Nazi collaborator, he denied it. When photographs of him in uniform were found, it had no impact on his career at home. The Austrians still loved him. Perhaps what we are learning about many members of the media and of the Republican Party is that they are, finally, Austrians at heart."

January 7, 1999. Bob Herbert editorializes on the scandal in the New York Times after an interview with Council of Conservative Citizens leader Gordon Lee Baum. The lead in the editorial is Baum’s opinion on the intellectual capacity of blacks: "My personal belief is that the overwhelming, almost unanimous belief of the professionals, the academia, if you will, in the field, say that is the case—that there’s a difference between black and white intelligence…You will have a hard time finding somebody in the field…who would dispute that. Try it." Herbert contends that Trent Lott’s attempts to distance himself from the group and its controversial opinions on race have failed. "It’s not working, Herbert writes. "He can try to present himself as a statesman in the impeachment proceedings, but the smell from this dismal group is all over him." In response to Lott’s statements about the group, Herbert asks the Senator to "spare me." Trent Lott, writes Herbert scathingly, "is immersed from his wingtips to his forehead in the culture of the South. He is an unabashed admirer of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy. He’s addressed the council. He’s been photographed hobnobbing with its leaders. His syndicated column has appeared frequently in the Citizens Informer."

January 11, 1999. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Advocate prints an editorial by Nat Hentoff (syndicated by the Newspaper Enterprise Association) titled "The low-tech lynching of Georgia’s Bob Barr." Running against the editorial grain thus far developing, Hentoff notes that "a horde of independent prosecutorial journalists have convicted Barr of racism because he made a speech last June to the Council of Conservative Citizens." However, observes Hentoff, none of these journalists seem to have made mention "of Barr’s record on behalf of civil liberties. Of course, the fact that he has been allied with the ACLU on a number of privacy issues might be confusing in an indictment of Barr." [Hentoff seems to be conflating civil rights, as the term is generally used to refer to race issues, with civil liberties, since Hentoff speaks at some length about wiretapping, but not at all about Barr’s record on race issues]

January 13, 1999. New York Daily News polemicist Stanley Crouch complains that Trent Lott is getting a "free ride" by the press.

January 13, 1999. Thomas Edsall, writing for the Washington Post, reveals that the Council of Conservative Citizens has ties to Democrats as well as Republicans. William Lord, a prominent Mississippi member of the group, has told Edsall that 34 Mississippi legislators are members of the Council and that most of those are Democrats. But Edsall also illustrates the close connections Lott has had with the organization, describing a 1989 Citizens Informer issue picturing Lott as he "talks with relatives, from left, his Uncle Arnie Watson; cousins, Frances and Frank Hodges, and aunt, Eurdise. Arnie Watson, a former State Senator, is a member of the Carroll County Citizens Council’s Executive Committee, and Frank Hodges is a member of the Carroll County Citizens Council."

January 14, 1999. The New York Times discovers Arnie Watson, Trent Lott’s uncle, and a member of the executive board of the Council of Conservative Citizens. Watson, presumably to the delight of people who wish to see Trent Lott stay in the spotlight of the scandal, is more than willing to discuss Lott’s connections to the CCC with the Times. "Trent is an honorary member," says Watson. "He’s spoken at meetings." Indeed, a lot of politicians seem to like the Council in Mississippi. William Lord, state coordinator for the group, tells the Times that "there are 34 members of the Mississippi legislature among its roughly 5,000 members" in Mississippi. The Times also records the endorsement by Lott of the group which appears on Council literature: "America needs a patriotic organization to mobilize conservative, patriotic citizens to help protect our flag, Constitution and other symbols of freedom."

January 14, 1999. Jude Wanniski, a longtime friend of Trent Lott, writes to New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch that "there are few white men in America who are less racist than he is." However, it is not exactly clear what she means, for her definition of racist is rather narrow. "Trent Lott a racist?" she asks. "If we go by the correct definition, Do you believe skin pigmentation plays any role in intelligence at the time of conception? Trent Lott is not a racist."

January 15, 1999. Ian Brodie of the London Times reports on Trent Lott’s continuing efforts to shake the criticism resulting from his association with the Council of Conservative Citizens. In a new press release, Lott has stated, "I have made my condemnation of the white supremacist and racist view of this group, or any group, clear. Any use of my name to publicize their view is not only unauthorized—it’s wrong." This was an apparent reference to CCC literature that seemed to sport an endorsement by Lott. Brodie, however, quoting the New York Times interview with Lott’s uncle, Arnie Watson, who said that Trent was an honorary member of the CCC, cast doubt upon Lott’s statement. In response to Lott’s disavowal of the group, CCC leader Gordon Baum tells a reporter, "He’s got to do what he’s got to do. We’re not going to badmouth him."

January 15, 1999. Tyler Bridges of the Knight Ridder News Services reports that Trent Lott and Bob Barr are "hardly alone" in having connections to the Council of Conservative Citizens. In fact, "almost two dozen Southern lawmakers" have appeared before them. Bridges notes the CCC’s newsletter states that more than twenty lawmakers have spoken to the group in the past two years, including seventeen from Mississippi, two from South Carolina, one from Tennessee, one from Alabama and one from Louisiana. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, notes that the CCC has been "the most successful far-right organization in establishing ties to elected officials." Says Foxman, "They have been somewhat successful in cloaking themselves in the mantle of conservatism to underlie their racist agenda." Bridges also spoke to Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice’s spokesman Robbie Wilbur, who said Fordice was "surprised" by the controversy and did not rule out Fordice speaking to the group again. Bridges talked to a number of the politicians who had delivered speeches before the Council, some of whom had interesting comments to make. "The people I talked to are against taxes and are pro-family," said Mississippi state senator Richard White, "They’re a pretty regular group." South Carolina state representative Charles Sharpe stated that "They think like I do. We’ve lost Dixie in a lot of public places. They’re looking to preserve our way of life. There’s nothing racist about wanting to keep your heritage." Sharpe also announced his opposition to interracial marriage. "They’re not supposed to mix," he said. "Cows and horses don’t mix. I don’t want any of my people doing it. The Bible says you’re not supposed to."

January 15, 1999. The Associated Press reports that despite Trent Lott’s own uncle claiming that Lott was a member of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Mississippi chapter coordinator William Lord has asserted that "We do have members from all over the country but Trent Lott is not among them, honorary or otherwise, and never has been." Lott’s uncle, Arnie Watson, a former Mississippi state senator, had said there was "no doubt" that Lott had been an honorary member of the group for years. "They just made him an honorary member during a Trent Lott Day in Carrollton," Watson said. "It was when he spoke up here and when he was first running for Congress." Untrue, Lord says: "Trent Lott is my friend, as he is a friend of everybody. But he has no association with our group. On that matter, his uncle is wrong."

January 15, 1999. The Boston Globe discovers a Yankee supporter of the Council of Conservative Citizens in its ranks, City Councilor at Large Albert L. O’Neil, who tells the Globe, "I’m not a member of it, but they are a good group." This comment comes a day after O’Neil was the sole "no" vote on a council vote to erect a statue to Martin Luther King.

January 15, 1999. Dennis Wheeler, a North Georgia coordinator for the Council of Conservative Citizens and an open and unabashed white supremacist, writes a letter to the Atlanta Journal and Constitution in which he says that the Council realizes "that with the swarming nonwhite immigration undermining of the Anglo-Saxon fabric of our society, our political interests will become even harder to enact in the future. So we are fighting the problem on two fronts, working to organize Euro-Americans into a more unified and powerful voting bloc, and to reform immigration laws to greatly curtail the flood of nonwhite immigrants."

January 16, 1999. Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, writes to the Washington Post to dispute the assertion by Council of Conservative Citizens leader Gordon Baum that the CCC is a mainstream conservative group. Foxman points out that numerous members of the CCC are known for their racist and anti-Semitic views, including A. J. Barker, state chairman of the North Carolina CCC, who founded the racist, anti-Semitic America First Party along with Edward Fields; Mark Cotterill, the recent leader of the National Capital chapter of the CCC, who previously was a leader in the National Front, a far-right nationalist party in Great Britain; and others.

January 16, 1999. An editorial in the Albany Times Union titled "For shame, Mr. Lott" criticizes Lott for taking too long in facing up to the racist views of the Council of Conservative Citizens. "Mr. Lott’s explanations are not only late in coming," states the newspaper, "but they stretch credulity to the breaking point. A 1997 photo shows him posing with officials of the council. How could he not have known of their agenda." The Times Union also notes that Lott twice attended council fund-raisers for an all-white school that was established to avoid segregation. "We’ve made it clear all along that we don’t care much for President Clinton’s personal behavior," the editorial finishes. "But we think even less of Mr. Lott’s segregationist politics, and his craven attempt to talk his way out of them."

January 16, 1999. Colbert King, in an editorial in the Washington Post, suggests that Lott should not be silent on the issue of the Council of Conservative Citizens. But even more, "instead of issuing statements, Lott should resort to actions that speak louder. A Senate resolution censuring the council is the answer. The measure should not seek to interfere with the group’s legal right to express its repulsive and offensive views. But the resolution should affirm that the race-baiting and divisiveness the council peddles do not enjoy an aura of respectability in Congress and are a moral affront to the country."

January 17, 1999. A Washington Post article by Michael Powell provides a profile of Gordon Baum, "small-time race baiter" and a "58-year-old former auto worker, a small-time lawyer churning out worker’s comp cases." Baum also happens to be "chief executive office" of the Council of Conservative Citizens, although his credentials stretch back far further. Segregationists George Wallace and Lester Maddox each declared Baum an "honorary aide de camp and colonel." As for the current scandal involving Bob Barr and Trent Lott, Baum seems quite happy with the whole event. "A politician denies us, well, BIG WHOOP!" Baum tells Powell. "Poor ol’ Trent did himself in. His photographer took the picture and gave it to us." The photo? A much-mentioned 1997 photo of Lott in his office with Baum and other Council members, signed, "Best wishes to Gordon, Trent Lott." Baum grew up in St. Louis, but left because "black kids were rolling our kids for lunch money." He later became a field coordinator for Wallace’s 1968 and 1972 presidential campaigns and also worked as an organizer for the white Citizens’ Councils, southern organizations formed to protect segregation. "If the people of Mississippi in their sound judgment want segregation, that should be their choice," Baum says. "Who died and gave that choice to the Supreme Court?" After the Citizens’ Councils declined in the 1980s, Baum gathered up some of its former members and formed the Council of Conservative Citizens in 1985. "Do we have a few members who might have been in the Klan? Probably—but so what? None are leaders. We have a lot more coppers and priests."

January 17, 1999. Paul Delaney writes, in an editorial for the Baltimore Sun, that "while they have not been condemned by their political colleagues, the activities of Mr. Lott, Mr. Barr, Mr. Fordice, et al, have not escaped the enmity of blacks and their allies; nor will they be soon forgotten. For the leader of Senate Republicans—said to be concerned about his party’s fate in the wake of impeachment zealotry—to do something so dumb would be worthy of pity had he not tried to defend and justify his actions. The men lied about the extent of their relationship with the CCC, and tried to cover it up."

January 17, 1999. Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor for the Atlanta Constitution, is disturbed that the "Council of Conservative Citizens can claim the ear of such political luminaries as Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott." As a Mississippi native, suggests Tucker, and as a man old enough to remember segregation and as a leader in the Senate, "Lott ought to know better than to truck with such a group. But sometimes, it seems, the political advantages to playing to racists and racist bigotry outweigh what we are taught by education and experience."

January 19, 1999. The Associated Press reports that Jim Nicholson, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, has called on all Republicans to resign from the Council of Conservative Citizens because of its racism. "There is no room for racist views in the Republican Party," states Nicholson. "I never heard of the CCC until a few days ago, but it appears that this group does hold racist views. The Republican Party rejects and condemns such views forcefully and without hesitation or equivocation. In particular, Nicholson appeals to Buddy Witherspoon, one of the party’s national committee members from South Carolina and a member of the Council. Witherspoon replies that he would not do anything of the sort. "Never have I heard anything said about race in any way, shape or form," says Witherspoon to a reporter.

January 20, 1999. Washington Post reporter Thomas Edsall elaborates on Jim Nicholson’s denunciation of the Council of Conservative Citizens, particularly in relation to Buddy Witherspoon. "It has come to my attention that an RNC member, Buddy Witherspoon, is a member of the CCC," Nicholson wrote. "I have urged Mr. Witherspoon to resign from that group and I will continue to use my good offices to persuade Mr. Witherspoon that a member of the party of Lincoln should not belong to such an organization." But Edsall also quotes Bill Lord of the Mississippi chapter of the CCC as saying that most of the 34 Mississippi state legislators who are members of the CCC are Democrats.

January 20, 1999. Syndicated columnist Clarence Page weighs in on the Council of Conservative Citizens scandal. The Council, says Page, is "remarkably similar, although racially opposite, to black nationalist organizations like Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam." Page also notes that Trent Lott "at first denied any direct knowledge of the group until photos turned up in the Citizens Informer of his appearances at CCC gatherings in Mississippi."

January 22, 1999. An editorial in the Omaha World-Herald praises Jim Nicholson’s "refreshing stand" against the Council of Conservative Citizens, as well as that of the Democratic National Chairman, Roy Romer, who also condemned Democrats who belong to the Council. Romer stated that the CCC "is an organization that should not get the support of any person who believes in democracy in this country." Regarding Trent Lott’s involvement with the group, the newspaper notes that "for the majority leader to have any dealings with such a group at any time showed incredibly poor judgment. Some people, by the noxiousness of their beliefs, put themselves beyond the reach of what ought to be the political mainstream. They aren’t fit company for the leaders of one of the two major political parties."

January 22, 1999. The Boston Globe prints an editorial praising Jim Nicholson for denouncing the Council of Conservative Citizens. "The Republican National Committee chairman…does his party a great service by calling on all Republicans to resign from the council," states the editorial. "Any Democratic officeholders involved ought to drop their affiliations as well."

January 22, 1999. The Associated Press reports that Mississippi Governor Kirk Fordice has openly denied that the Council of Conservative Citizens is a racist group. The governor claimed that he was not one of those people "that’s going to, because it’s politically correct, demonize the CCC. There are some very good people in there with some very good ideas. All this stuff about them being racist—that’s hearsay, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know anything about that."

January 23, 1999. After Council of Conservative Citizens board member Jared Taylor [see above] writes to the Washington Post criticizing Abraham Foxman and Colbert King for claiming that the CCC is racist, King writes a biting column shedding light on Taylor himself, based largely on essays and articles from Taylor’s American Renaissance website. These include comments that range from the intelligence of blacks to the statement that "unless the European-American majority defends its legitimate interests, Western Civilization will disappear from this continent. He also quotes a November 1997 article by G. McDaniel, who complains regarding football that "the prospect of spending your Saturday afternoons cheering yourself hoarse over the disgusting antics of witless Negro endomorphs is perhaps not a fitting way for a white man to spend his time."

January 23, 1999. The Miami Herald takes a less good-willed look at Jim Nicholson’s criticism of the Council of Conservative Citizens. "The house has been burning for more than a month now," a newspaper columnist editorializes. "On Tuesday, the chairman of the Republican National Committee finally smelled the smoke and yelled, ‘fire!’"

January 23, 1999. Donald Adderton, writing in the Biloxi, Mississippi, Herald, reacts against the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s remark that he would personally seek to oust Senate Majority Trent Lott at the polls in 2000 through a massive voter registration campaign. "A noble attempt from a man who has skeletons in his own political closet," writes Adderton, who suggests that all Trent Lott did was to have the "audacity to speak before the Council of Conservative Citizens in 1992 and allegedly accepted an ‘honorary’ membership in the ultra-conservative organization." Adderton notes that Jackson himself has embraced Louis Farrakhan and referred to Jews as "hymies."

January 24, 1999. Gordon Lee Baum appears on CNN’s "Both Sides with Jesse Jackson" in order to "set the record straight." Baum attempts to do so, claiming that "there’s not a word of truth" to claims that the CCC is anti-Semitic, that the CCC has "never taken a position" on segregation or racial inferiority. However, he is not particularly successful. After quoting a columnist on the CCC’s website who said that if whites continue to allow heavy immigration and racial mixing, they will become part of a slimy brown mass of glop, Jackson asks Baum if that is racist or not. Baum’s response: "Well, I don’t know if it’s racist or not." Later, Jackson shifts his emphasis to the relationship between Trent Lott and the CCC. In response to a question about Trent Lott’s knowledge of the CCC before the media exposed it, Baum says, "I’m not sure what Senator Lott knew or didn’t know. I’m still not sure what he knows or doesn’t know. I don’t know how perceptive he is, Reverend Jackson. I mean he did attend our national meeting back in 1992. He did, in fact, meet with a delegation of our people in his office and he did, in fact, speak at a couple of the local meetings, but I don’t know how perceptive people are, if they understand this is all the same thing. It’s difficult to imagine that he didn’t, but then again, who knows?"

January 24, 1999. In a letter to the Boston Globe, a member of the John Birch Society stresses the differences between that organization and the Council of Conservative Citizens. "Since the Society enjoys participation from people of all racial and religious backgrounds," he writes, "we would automatically oppose organizations that advocate the force of law to deny basic constitutional rights to others."

January 24, 1999. Robert Parham, director of the Nashville-based Baptist Center for Ethics, in an editorial in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (distributed by the Religion News Service), writes that the message sent by Bob Barr and Trent Lott is that "adultery is wrong; racism is OK." After describing the Council of Conservative Citizens to his readers, Parham asserts that "Barr and Lott showed either their true colors or terribly bad judgment."

January 25, 1999. Syndicated columnist Larry Elder weighs in. "Close affiliation with a white supremacist groups suggests either racism, stupidity or reckless negligence, none of which is excusable," he states. However, "did the decibel level get this high when then-NAACP Executive Director Ben Chavis embraced Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam?" Elders also discusses other alleged examples of double standards. "In many American cities, minority police officers form organizations to protect the interests of offices of their own color. Is it OK for white officers to do likewise?" The "harsh glare" of attention on Barr and Lott, he suggests, "demonstrates our national abhorrence of white racism. Let us condemn all racism just as harshly."

January 25, 1999. The Kansas City Star reports on the efforts of Gordon Baum to deny that the Council of Conservative Citizens is racist. "We are not monsters," he tells the Star. "They’re trying to make us out as ogres." His efforts fall short of the mark. "We’re not white supremacists," he says. "We are pro-European Americans. We are pro-white." We want to keep the United States, he emphasized, "a predominantly European country."

January 25, 1999. Tom Teepen, the Atlanta-based syndicated columnist, evinces skepticism about the statements of Barr and Lott: "Barr swears he didn’t know what the council was up to when he spoke to it, which is doubtful. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, another speaker, says the same, which isn’t believable at all. If there’s anything a lifelong Mississippi politician knows, it’s who these characters are. One CCC activist has twice chaired county election committees for Lott."

January 25, 1999. The Anti-Defamation League calls upon Republican National Committee member Buddy Witherspoon to resign from the Council of Conservative Citizens.

January 26, 1999. The Los Angeles Times publishes an article by Judy Pasternak summarizing the controversy over the Council of Conservative Citizens, emphasizing the connections between Trent Lott and the CCC. Among new items revealed are the opinions of Bervil Watson, Arnie Watson’s wife, who says that she believes Trent Lott, her nephew, was aware of the nature of the Council. "He’s bound to have known the principles: being against black people. If nothing else," she said, "he got it from my husband." Also increasingly an issue is Lott’s reaction to the scandal. When news surfaced last month in the Washington Post that Lott had addressed the group, writes Pasternak, his spokesman said Lott had "no straightforward recollection." When recent speaking dates were discovered, the spokesman said Lott had "no firsthand knowledge" of the group’s agenda. When columnists began weighing in on the ties, his latest statement denounced white supremacist and racist views "espoused by this or any other organization," giving, says Pasternak, "no inkling of how much he knew." Lott’s press secretary, John Czwartacki, has refused repeated interview requests. The Times reporter also notes that CCC leader William Lord was Lott’s Carroll County co-chairman in 1994 during Lott’s last election campaign. "The men from the council are the ones who knock on the neighbor’s doors," said Arnie Watson.

January 27, 1999. Conservative syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington writes a scathing column critical of Bob Barr and Trent Lott for their ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens. The column is here reprinted in full:


The Wrong Kind of Party Outreach

Arianna Huffington

The prevalent caricature that Republicans neither care for minorities nor have a place for them on their agenda gained credence last month when it was revealed that prominent Republican leaders -- Rep. Bob Barr, Sen. Trent Lott, Sen. Jesse Helms and Mississippi Gov. Kirk Fordice -- had been linked to the Council of Conservative Citizens.

They all promptly distanced themselves from the group, but a visit to its Website -- with articles describing Martin Luther King as a "depraved miscreant" and America as turning into a "slimy brown mass of glop" made it clear that what was in order was not distancing but outright condemnation.

So I called each one of them and asked if they would categorically denounce the CCC, and demand that it stop using their names as an implicit endorsement.

The responses varied widely. Barr told me he would write a letter to the CCC and, within hours, did indeed fax me a copy. "I find your views on racial issues repugnant," he wrote. "If I had been aware white supremacist views occupied any place in the Council's philosophy, I would never have agreed to speak."

Lott's statement, given over the phone, was tortured and woefully inadequate, considering his long-term relations with the CCC, ranging from speaking at its events to meeting privately with its leaders in his office. "I have made my condemnation of white supremacist and racist views espoused by this or any group clear," he said. "Any use of my name to publicize their beliefs is not only unauthorized, it's wrong."

Here are the questions that remain unanswered by the majority leader: Why did he endorse the group in a 1995 promotional mailer as a needed "national organization to mobilize conservative, patriotic citizens to help protect our flag, Constitution and other symbols of freedom"? If, as he claimed, he had "no firsthand knowledge" of the CCC's agenda, what business did he have endorsing it? And was his uncle, Arnie Watson, lying when he said that the senator was "an honorary member of the group"?

Helms' response was to have his chief of staff, Jimmy Broughton, write a letter to the CCC, which he faxed to me. "In no way has Senator Helms subscribed to your stance on racial issues," the letter went. Then came my telephone conversation with Gov. Fordice. "I would probably go again," he told me. "They are very delightful people and just because of a few views they hold, that wouldn't keep me from attending their events again." I asked him specifically about their views on Martin Luther King. "He's not a hero of mine. He spent too much time in Soviet Russia for my liking," he replied.

I hung up incredulous at Fordice's obliviousness to just how chilling such statements are. The history of the 20th century is, after all, studded with men's failure to comprehend that evil can hide in the hearts of some "very delightful people."

The next stop on my journey was a call to the CEO of the council himself. I asked Gordon Baum for his response to the letters disavowing his group. He claimed that he had not received them. After I faxed them to him, he was contemptuously dismissive: "That's politicians for you. Politicians do what's necessary to stay in power." As for the rest of his views, they didn't seem very different from David Duke's -- fueled by the same fears for the fate of that "put-upon" group, European-Americans.

Now the CCC is in the headlines, James Carville is reportedly preparing an ad targeting the GOP's connection to it, and Duke is planning to run for Rep. Bob Livingston's seat in Congress -- a district he carried in both his 1990 Senate challenge and his 1991 gubernatorial race. During the 1991 governor's race, an independent expenditure committee, funded by Republicans determined to keep Duke out of their party, ran an effective ad campaign against him. The GOP will have to use every means available -- including ridicule and high dudgeon -- to ensure that neither Duke nor the Council of Conservative Citizens becomes identified with the Southern conservative wing of the Grand Old Party.

That will still not be enough. Newt Gingrich once quipped that Jack Kemp has showered with more blacks than most Republicans have shaken hands with. But Kemp and J.C. Watts cannot be a substitute for outreach efforts that demonstrate Republicans' commitment to racial equality and the end of discrimination.

Showing up at black churches and extolling Martin Luther King will not be enough either. A zero tolerance policy toward racial bigotry must be coupled with both community and legislative solutions to the dire problems facing black America.

A lot has been said about returning morality to politics. Republicans would be wise to remember that on the moral Richter scale, playing footsie with racists is more damaging to one's political health than "ministering" to -- or being ministered by -- a 21-year old intern.

January 28, 1999. Conservative African-American columnist Armstrong Williams expresses dismay at the Council of Conservative Citizens scandal. "It brings me shock and horror," he writes, "to know that Lott and Barr gave legitimacy to this racist organization by speaking before them. Someone needs to speak out. We are only a couple generations removed from a time when blacks were unable to purchase real estate in this country. While such hateful enclaves do maintain the freedom of assembly, we cannot endorse them by speaking for them or writing for their newsletters. Amid all this, Lott is yet to issue a definitive apology."

January 28, 1999. Bob Barr writes an editorial for the New York Daily News entitled "The Truth About My Views on Race." In it he takes offense at Stanley Crouch’s repeated attacks on him. He notes that as a U.S. Attorney he prosecuted white supremacist groups and racially motivated police brutality. Barr also says that he cares "deeply about preventing anyone from being singled out for discrimination based on their race, gender, national origin, religion or other factors." He says that "I deeply believe the color of a person’s skin, the church they worship in or the country where they were born should have absolutely nothing to do with the opportunities they have in society or the status they hold under the law."

January 29, 1999. The Washington Post reports that the Council of Conservative Citizens has shut down its website’s electronic message list after "being inundated with messages supporting former Ku Klux Klan member David Duke and defending his attacks on Jewish organizations."

January 29, 1999. Ultraconservative columnist Samuel Francis writes that "for at least a month, the nation’s media have been on a rampage against the Council of Conservative Citizens…a group of which I am proud to be a member." Francis distinguishes between "speaking out for white European-Americans," which he maintains is the Council’s role, and "racism."

January 29, 1999. Reader Kevin Duncliffe writes in to the Los Angeles Times to say that "Sure, I believe Lott when he says that he denounces the ‘white supremacist and racist views’ espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens. Sure I do. Just like I believed President Clinton when he said he ‘did not have sexual relations with that woman.’"

January 30, 1999. Thomas Edsall of the Washington Post reports that Representatives Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) and James Clyburn (D-S.C.) will sponsor a resolution condemning "the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens." Says Wexler, it is "more important than ever that the Congress go on record opposed to any and all sorts of racism." The resolution is modeled on a 1994 resolution which condemned the "racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic speech given by Khalid Abdul Muhammed of the Nation of Islam at Kean College" in 1993.

January 31, 1999. The Associated Press reports on Democratic Party attempts to take advantage of the Council of Conservative Citizens scandal in Missouri. Based on a remark by Gordon Lee Baum that Republican Senator John Ashcroft was a politician he could support, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a press release calling Ashcroft a "white supremacist’s presidential choice." Missouri Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner responded angrily, noting that "the ridiculous attack was based not on anything Sen. Ashcroft said or did but solely on the offhand remark of a guest on a CNN talk show." Wagner called on Democratic senatorial challenger Governor Mel Carnahan to repudiate such "dirty tactics." A Carnahan spokesman said that the governor did not know about this release.

January 31, 1999. The New York Daily News’ Stanley Crouch responds to Bob Barr’s essay in the paper defending himself against being called a racist. Crouch says that if Barr indeed deplores racism, that he "will be the Republican who asks hard questions of Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott." After reiterating Lott’s ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, Crouch says "Lott’s lies and alliances call into serious question whether such a man should be Senate majority leader and represent the Republican Party. I know, therefore, that when the time comes, we can count on Brother Barr to ask Trent Lott to step down."

February 1, 1999. Newsweek’s Matt Bai wonders at how the Council of Conservative Citizens has "ensnared pols from both parties." In particular, he uses the example of Mike Moore, Mississippi’s attorney general, who recently reopened the decades-old murder case against former Klansman Sam Bowers (Moore also won the case). Moore, a Democrat active against racism, nevertheless ended up at a political rally sponsored by the Council of Conservative Citizens. Bai attributes the Council’s ability to accomplish feats like this to its ability to play down its more extremist views.

February 2, 1999. Congressmen Robert Wexler and James Clyburn release the text of the resolution they are introducing condemning the Council of Conservative Citizens. The text of the resolution reads:


Condemning the racism and bigotry espoused by the
Council of Conservative Citizens

Whereas the population of the United States contains a spectrum of many diverse and rich cultures, races, and religious beliefs that contribute to the vitality and stability of the Nation;

Whereas the House of Representatives strongly opposes racism, bigotry, and all forms of ethnic and religious intolerance;

Whereas the Council of Conservative Citizens is an outgrowth of the segregationist "White Citizens Council", commonly known as the White-Collar Klan, which helped to enforce segregation in the 1950s and 1960s;

Whereas the Council of Conservative Citizens promotes racism, divisiveness, and intolerance through its newsletter, World Wide Web site, and public discourse;

Whereas the Council of Conservative Citizens promulgates dogma that supports white supremacy and anti-Semitism an maliciously denigrates great American leaders including Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and

Whereas the Council of Conservative Citizens provides access to, and opportunities for the promotion of, extremist neo-Nazi ideology and propaganda that incites hate crimes and violence:

Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives

(1) condemns the racism and bigotry espoused by the Council of Conservative Citizens;

(2) condemns all manifestations and expressions of racism, bigotry, and religious intolerance wherever they occur; and

(3) urges all Members of the House of Representatives not to support or endorse the Council of Conservative Citizens and its views.



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