The Southern Poverty Law Center Gets It Wrong On Tom Tancredo

Earlier today, I was very surprised to read — at the left wing Southern Poverty Law Center — that Tom Tancredo had attended a fund raiser thrown by a group called the League of the South. Here’s what the SPL had to say:

“…(T)he state chapter of the League of the South (LOS), a neo-Confederate hate group, hosted a barbeque in honor of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, head of the House Immigration Reform Caucus and likely contestant in the 2008 GOP presidential primary. Proceeds from the $15 per-plate fundraiser went to Americans Have Had Enough!, a South Carolina-based non-profit coalition for which Tancredo serves as honorary chairman.

While Tancredo’s hard-line “deport ’em all” stance on immigration has made him a favorite politician of white supremacists, this marked the first time the congressman has appeared at a hate group event.”

To tell you the truth, I had never heard of the League of the South, so I went to their website to check them out and — yes, they’re a real gang-of-idiots. Just look at this excerpt from a petition on their website and you’ll see what I mean:

“When they left the union in 1860-61, they were opposed by Lincoln and the Republican Party, who invaded the South rather than acknowledge that a State has the right to secede. Unfortunately, our Confederate ancestors were defeated and brutally forced to return to what became an involuntary “union.” In fact, after 1865 the United States became a “Consolidated Nation-State,” the very thing that the Founding Fathers dreaded most. By signing this petition and leaving your comments, you will be voicing your support for the South’s right–then and now–to secede from the current regime and to form its own government or governments as free men and women.”

Just to hammer home the point, here’s a poll from their website:

So obviously, these guys are a little cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, if you know what I mean.

That’s why I could not understand why Tom Tancredo would go to a fund raiser run by these clowns. Here’s the rub: it turns out that the Southern Poverty Law Center got it wrong. The League of the South didn’t throw the fund raiser. I can tell you that definitely because I talked to Tancredo’s press guy, Carlos Espinosa.

Carlos told me that the fund raiser was thrown by Americans Have Had Enough! and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group open to, “male descendants of any veteran who served honorably in the Confederate armed forces,” that is, “devoted exclusively to commemorating and honoring Confederate soldiers.”

As far as the League of the South goes, Carlos said that they never dealt with those guys and, “For all we know, none of them even showed up.”

So, how did the SPL wrongly conclude that the League of the South sponsored the event? Well, apparently, someone at the South Carolina chapter wrote this in their news section:

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado) will be our guest at the Visa Room of the SC State Museum at 11:00 AM, Saturday September 9th. Barbecue will be furnished by Maurice Bessinger’s Piggy Park. The cost per plate will be approximately $20.00 with proceeds going to Congressman Tancredo’s 501 (c) (4) organisation, “America has had enough”.

Had the SPL gotten in contact with Americans Have Had Enough! or Tancredo’s campaign, they would have found out that these guys had nothing to do with the event. Perhaps the Southern Poverty Law Center can explain that when they correct the record and, if they have any common decency, apologize to Tom Tancredo for smearing him in this fashion.

Update #1: I spoke to James Layden, the Chairman of the South Carolina League of the South. He was very polite, but was also a little foggy on what his group’s involvement was with the event, if they had any beyond encouraging their members to go. However, he did say definitively that they did not sponsor the event.

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