Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), a rising star in the national Republican Party, confirmed reports Monday on the neo-Nazi website Stormfront that he had presented at a 2002 white supremacist conference organized by KKK bigwig and ex-Republican legislator David Duke.
CenLamar, a left-leaning Louisiana politics blog, first highlighted comments yesterday on Stormfront suggesting that Scalise—who earlier this year became the House Republicans' majority whip—had been an esteemed guest at a Metairie, Louisiana, gathering of Duke's "European-American Unity and Rights Organization" (EURO), a pro-white international movement labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As evidence of EURO's racial politics, CenLamar cited one post by a EURO writer waxing reminiscent about Nazi-era Germany:
The beautiful Germany of the 1930s with blonde children happily running through every village has been replaced with a multi-racial cesspool. Out of work Africans can be seen shuffling along the same streets, which used to be clean and safe in the days of the National Socialists.
Scalise attended EURO's "Workshop on Civil Rights" while still a state representative, according to CenLamar's Stormfront source. The legislator's speech touched on how government programs eroded "individual liberty for whites," that source wrote:
[Scalise] discussed ways to oversee gross mismanagement of tax revenue or "slush funds" that have little or no accountability.
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 give-away to a selective group based on race.
A spokeswoman for Scalise told the Washington Post this afternoon that the congressman had in fact attended the jamboree, where EURO president David Duke himself was an honored speaker, but that Scalise had no idea it was a white supremacist group to whom he was giving his anti-government spiel:
"Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints," Bagley said. "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."
Staffers for Scalise, who is pictured above with House Speaker John Boehner, did not respond to numerous requests for comment by Gawker on Monday.
[Photo credit: AP Images]