Niger Innis, the son of a civil rights activist with a long and contentious career, has been tapped as executive director of an organization that purports to be the largest tea party group in the United States.
TheTeaParty.net, which boasts of having 2.5 million members, announced on Tuesday Innis's selection as executive director. He failed last month in his bid to secure the GOP nomination in a congressional race in Nevada. Innis, who also serves as the Congress of Racial Equality's national spokesman, previously worked as a chief strategist for the tea party group.
"Liberals and GOP political elites alike have simultaneously assailed the tea party movement as racist, radical, and now irrelevant," Innis said in a statement. "We owe it to every American who identifies as a tea party supporter ... to bring the voice of the grassroots to Washington and stand up against crony capitalism and self-serving insiders of all stripes."
Innis, 46, like his father, Roy, 80, chairman of CORE, has a flair for provocative rhetoric. He once accused the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People of "racial terror." He also defended Nevada rancher and one-time conservative hero Cliven Bundy this spring after the rancher's racially charged remarks were publicized.
"They will try to distract, with the firestorm that Cliven started by using the r-word, the racism word," Innis said in May. "I can only tell you my experience with the Bundys. Having eaten with them and broken bread with them and I don’t consider Cliven or his wonderful family racist at all. Period, end of story."
With comments like that, Niger Innis has been following in the footsteps of his father, the long-time chairman of CORE, whose tenure there attracted significant controversy.
Read More →