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Gingrich Said to Funnel $125K Via Hate Group to Punish Iowa Justices

By Leah Nelson on March 17, 2011 - 3:27 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

A nonprofit group led by former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich channeled $125,000 through a hard-line anti-gay organization to support a 2010 campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted to legalize same-sex marriage in that state, The Associated Press (AP) reported Tuesday. The donation to the American Family Association (AFA), which was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) earlier this year, was part of a total of $350,000 Gingrich reportedly helped steer to Iowa for Freedom, which led the successful campaign against the justices, the only ones on the court who were up for reelection.

The SPLC lists AFA as a hate group principally because of its regular use of false propaganda to demonize gays and lesbians. Especially remarkable are the views expressed by Bryan Fischer, its shrill director of issue analysis for government and policy. Fischer has proposed criminalizing homosexual behavior, advocated forcing gays into “reparative” therapy, and claimed gays were responsible for the Holocaust. (For more on Fischer’s claims, click here, here, here and here.)

The story of Gingrich’s below-the-radar assistance to Iowa for Freedom started to dribble out on March 3, when The Los Angeles Times reported that Gingrich helped the organization get its start, offering strategic advice and arranging a $200,000 gift from an anonymous donor. The remaining $150,000, the AP reported, was raised in the form of donations to Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), a nonprofit group Gingrich founded that promotes his books, TV appearances, and films. It was ReAL Action, an arm of ReAL, that reportedly gave $125,000 of that $150,000 to AFA Action, the political wing of AFA. The final $25,000 was given by ReAL Action to Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition. Both AFA Action and Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition then supported Iowa for Freedom’s efforts, the AP said.

The assistance turned out to be critical. The campaign to force the Iowa judges out “wouldn’t have happened without Newt,” David Lane, executive director of Iowa for Freedom, told the Los Angeles Times. “Newt provided strategic advice and the initial seed money, about $200,000, which is what got everything started.”

Gingrich, a twice-divorced man and recent convert to Catholicism not previously known for his commitment to evangelical issues, was vocal about his desire to see the three judges ousted. In August, he denounced them for “substituting their values for the values of Iowa voters” and exercising “dictatorial” power.

Gingrich’s ReAL Action gave the $150,000 to AFA and Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition in the form of “general purpose grants,” which were then used to aid the Iowa campaign, according to the news reports. Rick Tyler, ReAL’s founding director, told the Des Moines Register that the decision to funnel money through other nonprofits instead of giving it directly to Iowa for Freedom was based on lawyers’ advice about the legal requirement that, in order to retain its nonprofit status, ReAL avoid electoral politics. “We leave up to the groups receiving the money to determine how they would spend the money,” Tyler said.

It’s not clear if ReAL’s pass-through strategy is kosher. Marcus Owens, an attorney who led the IRS tax-exempt division for 10 years, told the AP: “It is not customary in the political world for large sums of money to shift hands without a clear objective. To give money unfettered to organizations that have announced they are going to be undertaking a recall effort is not going to protect you” from potential sanctions for electioneering, which most nonprofit groups are not allowed to do.

Gingrich founded ReAL about two years ago, shortly after remarrying and converting to Catholicism. ReAL’s mission is to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage by defending and promoting the three pillars of American civilization: freedom, faith and free markets.” Its small board of directors is packed with evangelical heavy-hitters, including chairman Jim Garlow, the San Diego pastor who helmed the 2008 campaign to pass Proposition 8, a ballot initiative to end same-sex marriage in California. (The measure is still tied up in the federal courts.) Also on the board is Vivian Berryhill, head of the National Coalition of Pastors’ Spouses.

But the most remarkable board member is self-described “historian” David Barton, a frequent guest of conspiracy-mongering Fox News host Glenn Beck. According to the Anti-Defamation League, Barton spoke twice during the early 1990s to adherents of the viciously racist and anti-Semitic theology known as Christian Identity.

  • Jean

    Whether you agree with same sex marriage or not, why would someone use a hate group to accomplish something unless they have a lot of hate in their heart also.

  • difluoroethene

    I doubt Fred Karger ( would ever do anything like that.

  • Clay Williams

    There is an old saying in the South: “He’s anybody’s dog that will hunt with him”…guess Newt has a new master…for the time being, at least. But I shouldn’t be too hard on the old goat since he was responsible for my dropping the republicans in ’94 in favor of the democrats, with his “Contract with America”. What a loser! His motto when he runs for the White House will have to be “In Pope We Hope”!

  • Bo Harris

    Correction to last sentence. Should be “still a human being” not “at.”

  • Bo Harris

    Newt, are you gay? It’s OK. You can tell us, because we see you as a human being first. Not a particularly right-thinking one at best, and a diabolical self-serving one at worst, but still at human being.

  • Peter Paul Fuchs

    It surely does not surprise me that Newt Gingrich has a lot of nefarious contacts. The interlocutors here asking for pinpoint proof of his involvement here and there are just falling into a reductio ad absurdam. Politicians can always say they didn’t know about sos-and-so’s views, and try to wiggle out. So, to my mind, what really matters is identifying clearly the constellation of types that someone like Gingrich is drawn to. In this regard he comes off as one of the handful of people who has done the most damage to to the American psyche, by folding in the views of the most extreme into what is now mainstream discourse. First, he was famously identified, even in the 90’s for having pioneered the hateful attack mode of discourse in Congress itself, which previously only characterized fringe political actors. This gremlin has never gone back into Pandora’ Box, and still reduces the government’s effectiveness greatly. Second, he pioneered the a special kind of attitude, presentation, and rhetoric that really has made profound impact at even the highest levels of civil discourse and even high-brow intellectual life. Namely, he brought in a quasi-academic sounding rhetoric, but detached from any real academic standard of accuracy and fairness. The rhetoric became a prop without any standard. He used this fussy, dismissive and, contextually, oddly prim rhetoric to smuggle in the most nasty tactics and ideas. He still can regularly be heard entering into his instructor role, but now he has lots of company because tragically, many in intellectual life have aped his abortion of intellectual discourse with purely ambitious midwifery. Now whole books are published by university presses written with basically propagandistic motives, often hateful ones, written with Gingrichian tropes and Gingrichian professorial attitude, and of course vacant of any real conceptual talent. (The works of Robert George and his followers like Robert Vischer give useful support for these notions.) It is a very unfortunate trend in American ‘thought”. Lastly, it is also not surprising that Gingrich finally became a Catholic. In the view of many, the Catholic Church is passing through an essentially anti-intellectual phase, even in universities incredibly, which began with Ratzinger’s ouster of multi-award winning scholar Charles Curran at Catholic University. But still the outlines of the great intellectual tradition of the Catholic Church are useful to someone like Gingrich, and thus he has glomed on to them. And in the Catholic context his membership in that Church can only be seen, I contend, as a further bolster for the admixture of vaunted intellectual themes with the rank forms of political agitprop.

  • CM

    JL, this discussion is getting pretty far off-topic. Just to make a couple of quick points:

    1. The second paragraph you quoted above supports the claim that Sailer approves of eugenics; he’s just decrying the fact that what he likes to label “political correctness” makes it unlikely Americans will embrace it as a policy.

    2. The blog entry you linked to is pretty repulsive, especially in the lengthy quotes from “top scientist” Crick, who in 1971 was still referring to “Japs” and “Negroes” while blithely denying that he had any racial prejudices: “If I have a prejudice it is against the poor, and in favour of the rich, but such an attitude is almost equally unacceptable to most people.”

    I also enjoyed this quote: “The main difficulty is that people have to start thinking out eugenics in a different way. The Nazis gave it a bad name and I think it is time something was done to make it respectable again.” One could argue that eugenics already had a “bad name” for anyone with a shred of moral decency because of the program of forced sterilization of the “mentally inferior” conducted in the U.S. in the 20th century.

    To try to get back on topic, if Gingrich is a close friend of someone (Jerry Pournelle) who has expressed approval of Sailer’s racist ideas (whether they specifically include advocacy of eugenics or not), it’s sufficient reason to ask Newt to explain the extent to which he approves or disapproves of those ideas.

  • JL

    Sailer has many times said that he does not think eugenics could be a workable policy. For example:

    My view on positive eugenics as a policy is that the Galtonians never had an answer to the challenge posed them in 1922 by G.K. Chesterton, in Eugenics and Other Evils. Chesterton pointed out that the “positive eugenics” of society arranging marriages among the most fit was self-defeating. If arranged marriages actually succeeded in breeding better men and women, the first thing these healthier, smarter, more robust individuals would do would be to tell society to butt out of arranging their marriages, and they’d go back to choosing their own mates!

    Still, Chesterton’s objection is far less valid, and Crick’s concerns even more valid, when the question is the impact of immigration. Countries like Canada have a consciously positive selectionist immigration policy of trying to identify applicants who will most benefit the existing population while keeping out people who would be detrimental. In contrast, anybody who advocates that we Americans take a look at the Canadian perspective is likely to get called a Nazi.

    Sailer was raised Catholic and there seems to be an undercurrent of Catholic morality in many of his writings. The above quotation is from here: I recommend reading it in full, it’s an interesting piece detailing the pro-eugenic and/or racialist views of top scientists like Francis Crick and Ernst Mayr.

  • CM

    “Sailer may be many things, but I don’t see why you would describe him as an eugenics activist.”

    “Apologist” or “propagandist” might be better words than “activist,” but it scarcely seems to matter when he writes so much stuff like this:

    Sailer might not explicitly advocate eugenics, but he consistently leads his readers up to the point where they will inevitably draw the “right” conclusion for themselves.

  • JL

    the eugenics activism of “racial realist” Steve Sailer

    Eugenics activism? Sailer may be many things, but I don’t see why you would describe him as an eugenics activist.

  • Chucky

    The AFA isn’t just anti-gay. It supports censorship of anything they do not like and has bullied companies into pulling their ads from TV shows. AFA founder Donald Wildmon is on record as saying that Jews control the entertainment industry. Not only that, the AFA condones Christian terrorism — in the 1990s two letter bombs were sent to the president of ABC during an AFA campaign to ban “NYPD Blue.”

    By funneling money to the AFA, Newt the Brute shows he is a trojan horse for those who want a fascist America under the guise of fundamentalist religion.

  • CM

    Seems to me the real threat here isn’t about religion or sexual identity, it’s about subversion of the electoral and judicial processes. I suspect Newt really doesn’t care what people do in the privacy of their own bedrooms (and especially if they let him watch). But he used a possibly illegal financing tactic to shovel money into a campaign to unseat three judges who’d shown themselves suspiciously liberal, in a state where there’s an early event in the 2012 presidential marathon. And let’s not forget the disproportionate number of Catholics sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court – if you want to sit at the table, you have to join the club.

  • Ian

    $10 says the twice-divorced Gingrich, unlike Catholic politicians on the other side of the political spectrum, has no problem getting communion.

  • Robert

    Wow facism you can vote for! We are retarded if you think these people would stop with gays and lesbians. Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it-trouble is they drag the rest of us along with them into the pit! I thought we were done with this fool in 1994 with his contract on Americans!? I keep telling the haters im not supporting people who are against me-im just not that foolish. People are so angry and frustrated with society, they need someone to blame. What passes as politicians these days fits the bill with thier slick speeches and rhetoric, with no real solutions or substance-so sad!!

  • skinnyminny

    I have a hard time wrapping my finger on this one – he founded a group for Judeo-Christians, but he himself converts to Catholicism!
    Okay, can someone explain to me what is going on? Just last week, I noted that Issa was, as it has been reported, a muslim – someone writes a response that he is Eastern Orthodox!
    This is really starting to sound like these guys are not only infiltrating our government, but religious institutions as well!

  • cashaww

    Based on this gentleman’s “logic”, he is preparing for the coming demographic change by learning Spanish.

  • Reynardine

    I’m interested in what old Newt is going to do about his newfound Catholicism when he wants to divorce this one and marry a different one. Move over, Glenn Beck?

  • difluoroethene

    Gingrich also has a close personal friendship with author Jerry Pournelle, who has some very “unusual” opinions as well; in particular, Pournelle has expressed support for the eugenics activism of “racial realist” Steve Sailer. Looks like Pournelle, Barton and Fischer could end up being the Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright of 2012.