Report: GOP Whip Spoke At White Nationalist Meeting In 2002

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) spoke at a 2002 meeting hosted by a white nationalist group, the Washington Post reported Monday.

The Post reported that Scalise “confirmed through an adviser that he once appeared at a convention of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization.”

Louisiana blogger Lamar White first reported over the weekend about Scalise’s alleged appearance in May 2002 in Metiarie, La. EURO, as it is know, is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist group and “a paper tiger” to sell books and otherwise publicize the work of former Ku Klux Klan leader and Louisiana representative David Duke.

White’s report was based primarily on contemporaneous forum posts on Stormfront, a white supremacist website. Scalise was a state legislator at the time.

Two top-shelf congressional reporters, the Washington Post’s Robert Costa and Politico’s Jake Sherman, followed up with Scalise’s office about the report.

They got slightly different responses, though Costa ultimately reported that Scalise had confirmed the appearance.

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Sherman’s report was slightly less certain about whether Scalise actually spoke at the event, though Scalise’s office didn’t outright deny it.

“Throughout his career in public service, Mr. Scalise has spoken to hundreds of different groups with a broad range of viewpoints,” communications director Moira Smith told Sherman. “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.

“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,” Smith said.

A Scalise aide added to Sherman that he only had one staffer at the time.

Update: This story has been updated to reflect a slight change in the Post’s sourcing.

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