The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Illinois Politician Associated With Racist Sites, Radio

By Marilyn Elias on January 15, 2013 - 11:32 am, Posted in Extremist Propaganda

Michael Kleen, the Republican candidate for mayor of Rockford, Ill., is running on an innocuous “safer streets” platform, pledging “appreciation for commonsense and moderation” on a campaign website that sparkles with sweet reason, offering a profile of a trustworthy, public-spirited candidate.

But Hatewatch has discovered that there’s more to Kleen than the sanitized information his campaign offers. The citizens of Rockford — the third largest city in Illinois, with a population that is 20% African-American and 16% Latino — may not realize that Kleen has published his very controversial views on immigration, secession and education on hate-oriented sites such as VDARE.com and WorldNetDaily.com. He also participated in several interviews on The Voice of Reason Radio Network, a mouthpiece for the white nationalist movement that went offline last August.

Kleen, 31, owns a desktop publishing business called Black Oak Media. He’s written fiction and nonfiction books, specializing in tales of the supernatural and Illinois historical lore. With his master’s degree in American history, he’s also dabbled in opinion posts and, he says, his interests are becoming increasingly political. After losing a race for the Winnebago county board last year — he did get 43% of the vote — Kleen became the Republican candidate for mayor of Rockford, a city with 153,00 residents.

His posts on VDARE have blasted multicultural education and a moderate immigration reform bill co-sponsored by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain several years ago. “It would open the floodgates to immigration in the Southwest and give citizenship to millions of Mexican nationalists who … have no love for their adopted country and who seek the eventual cultural and political severance of large swaths of territory,” Kleen wrote in one post.

VDARE.com is an immigrant-bashing hate site that regularly publishes works by white supremacists, anti-Semites and others on the radical right. Peter Brimelow, who created a foundation that funds VDARE.com, also apparently appreciates Kleen’s work—and hoped to make a little money from it. He endorsed one of the candidate’s books a couple of years ago, presented a link to it for site visitors and noted that VDARE.com would get a commission from each book sold.

Kleen, however, says he no longer likes VDARE.com. After Hatewatch asked him about his posts, he replied in an E-mail that his columns “were unfortunately heavily edited by that website to be much more ‘salacious’ than they were originally.”

As for WorldNetDaily, a conspiracy-oriented “news” venue that once claimed in a six-part series that eating soy causes homosexuality, Kleen says he doesn’t like them any more either. He did warn a few years ago on the site that “Middle America” was getting fed up with the government, and that secession talk is serious business. But he stopped submitting to WND — which is also thick with anti-gay, anti-Muslim and antigovernment conspiracist posts — because it began publishing “birther” claims, Kleen told Hatewatch.

As for his three appearances on the now-defunct, racist Voice of Reason Radio Network, Kleen offered no specific explanation. He does say, “Years ago (perhaps because of youth), I was much more philosophically radical than I am today.”

Actually, Kleen was interviewed on Voice of Reason as recently as two years ago by Tom Sunic, who described Kleen as “a good colleague and good friend.” Sunic is an extreme-right Croatian author and member of the board of directors of American Third Position, a racist political party that aims to deport immigrants and return the U.S. to white rule. Its top leader, California lawyer William Daniel Johnson, once sought to amend the Constitution so as to permanently deport any American with an “ascertainable trace of Negro blood,” along with all other non-white people.

In one interview, Kleen told Sunic he favored privatizing education in the U.S. and added that “only the wealthiest could afford the best education, but that’s the way it should be.” He railed with Sunic against Holocaust education in the schools and agreed that “homogeneous” cultures are best.

Kleen also proudly told Sunic that “Black Oak Presents,” a quarterly online journal he published, included a short story in which the U.S. president was strung up for crimes he’d committed that led to the downfall of the country. Kleen chuckled and said, “Only in ‘Black Oak Presents’ could a story like that be published.” Sunic responded, “Good news indeed.”

Kleen says he saw no reason to include any of these media pursuits on his campaign website or official biography. “My interests in philosophy and history often times lead me into murky waters, but I assure you, there is nothing really controversial here,” he explained by E-mail. “I categorically deny any affiliation with extremist or far right groups.”

Kleen adds, “At no time have I ever made any racist statements in my campaign literature, speeches, writing, or interviews.” And, he says, “I never turn down an opportunity to have my opinions heard, no matter who it is.”

  • Illinoisan

    Note that Kleen calls the SPLC “crazy.”

    http://www.rrstar.com/blogs/ch.....hallengers

    Right, they’re crazy. Kleen was merely reaching a white nationalist audience because = not crazy?! Clearly posting to radical right wing racist sites is the sane thing to do…

    Can’t believe this guy is a major party candidate for Mayor of Rockford.

    Check him out at http://www.michaelkleen.com, and his self-updated (narcissist?) wikipedia page where he flaunts his association with groups like VDare: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Kleen

  • Illinoisan

    Really Bill? Are you sure you aren’t Mr Kleen posting under a pseudonym? Otherwise why not post your entire name?

    As a black Latino, I find Kleen to be a threat to anyone of my ethnicity.

    Anyway, that said, Kleen actively wrote for white nationalism websites. He sought them out. You have to ask yourself “why?” That speaks volumes to his character.

  • Bill

    Let me tell you people a thing or two about Mike Kleen. None of the insinuation that Mike is a racist, or that politically he is a radical is correct. This website has him totally labeled and I have to say, as an African American History teacher in the city of Rockford, you should be ashamed of yourselves for making insinuations and character assassinations of a man who is trying to make a difference for his town. I have personally known Mike for years and he has never even hinted once a racial comment, slur, or joke in any fashion. Seriously, you need to do better research on your information. Wow.

  • Illinoisan

    Too bad NAFTA Refugee these websites sole purpose are pushing for the preservation of white culture.

    One seeks out those of like minds. The problem here is that the like minds are QUITE explicit. Kleen posted on EXPLICITLY “white cultural preservation” websites. He DID that. It’s not guilt by association, but guilt by affiliation.

  • Reynardine

    Nah, we’d never make the mistake, NAFTA. We just might take you for a Kleenex.

  • NAFTA Refugee

    Here we go again. Instead of the red scare we have the racist scare. This guy knows these people and said this to those people. Therefore……. you must conclude that he’s a racist. SPLC regularly uses this format just like the right uses it against Obama. It’s a Hardy Boys fun fact ride and a frighteningly good read.

    Now, go to to the internet and lookup NAFTA and through a series of seemingly connected historial occurences you will find that I am Hitler’s love child’s great great granddaughter. Hail Satan.

  • Illinoisan

    Check out his Facebook page. The guy is now trying to use MLK for his ends.

    What a slime bag.

  • Reynardine

    Interesting you mentioned that *ad*, Sam, because the link I provided doesn’t. I’d point out, though, that whoever holds a private citizen’s kid hostage, holds the whole family hostage, but whoever holds the President’s kids hostage, holds the nation hostage.

    No, the link I gave was about the NRA’s actual leadership. And, about the “hate” part, here’s another:
    http://www.fstdt.com/QuoteComment.aspx?QID=92137

    an item you can find reported elsewhere, as well.

    Meanwhile, welcome back, Brother Ruslan. You were missed.

  • Erika

    Rey, you are definitely right about the mind numbing tedium of being a lawyer (especially since i am not a trial attorney, so almost all of my work involves research and writing).

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Well someone already beat me to it but…

    “If you actually read what Kleen wrote, it is pretty typical conservative stuff. ”

    Yeah but typical conservative stuff has become pretty racist as of late.

    But there’s still this brilliant gem from “Therese.”

    “This article was written with intention. ”

    Really? Are you sure the journalist wasn’t just trying to send an e-mail to one of their relatives about a funny thing their kid did, only to accidentally write an article about a politician’s dealings with hate sites and accidentally post it on here? Brilliant. More proof that conservatives have the kind of no-nonsense common sense that can RESTORE AMERICA!

  • Illinoisan

    Therese, it sounds like you know him. Why isn’t his campaign addressing this? Would he be so kind to his opponent posting articles on baking to communist websites or websites calling for the extradition of Euro-Americans to give land back to Native Americans?

    Of course not.

    Note in one of his articles he explicitly stated that if we don’t do anything about “illegal immigration,” then this country will look substantially different. By that, he explicitly meant that it will be Latino. The only type of person on a public pedestal who would say such things is someone trying to drum up racialist or nationalist fears.

    Therese, I dare you to get Michael Kleen to address these issues before his local media outlets do. I mean, if he ain’t got anything to be ashamed of, then by all means he should express with pride (pun intended) why he actively posted for vDare and went on supremacist radio shows THREE TIMES.

    Be proud Michael… be “proud.”

  • Sam Molloy

    Rey, I will be led off topic to reply that the NRA was pointing out that Obama’s children have armed protection in school, and all children deserve to be as well protected. They should have added a list of all famously anti gun people whose children go to schools that have security. I agree with the NRA that all “gun free zones” are not only totally imaginary, they are magnets for maniacs. I personally would recommend against obvious security personnel, who could be targeted or easily avoided. Allowing permitholding teachers to quietly carry, and reporting the fact widely, would seem to me to be a far more effective deterrent to attacks.

  • Erika

    Wolf, i’m most definitely an attorney.

    Definitely not anywhere close to retirement (i’m a child of the 1980s).

    and it doesn’t take at all much time to post because i am a very fast writer :)

  • Reynardine

    Hmmm, Therese, haven’t we seen you before? You can come Kleen and tell us.

  • Reynardine

    Shadow Wolf, as someone who IS a retired lawyer, I can enlighten you.

    I practiced law when electric typewriters gave way to electronic typewriters and then to word processers, so my down time wasn’t like this, but I certify that all-nighters and courthouse marathons can alternate with times when you have nothing to do but read Lord of the Rings or putter in a garden. I had a secretary only once, and she hijacked my truck and ran into somebody with it, so most of the time I had to do that, too, and if I had to do office all-nighters, I frequently commuted with a shaggy dog or a yellow tomcat, but believe me, there are times when either you have nothing to do but fiddle, or else you have to fiddle in order not to lose your mind.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Erika off the topic here. Just wondering. You say you’re some sort of lawyer? How do you find the time to post in here daily? Unless of course, you’re retired.

  • Therese

    This article was written with intention. Clearly the journalist had intention to twist the facts and piece one fragment of information with another to come up with some mosaic of hate and extremism. Anyone who truly knows Mr. Kleen would describe him as a patient, creative and compassionate man. He values philosophy and revered leaders in history of all cultural backgrounds. The other key note here is that some of his writings are purely fictional, meant to lead the reader to think about current standards and beliefs and to balance these ideas with information from the past and present. A well rounded and grounded passionate man who is ready to listen to the regular citizen.

  • Reynardine

    For those interested in following up whether the NRA is a hate organization, I also offer the following link:

    http://m.motherjones.com/polit.....bushmaster

  • Reynardine

    I note we have not heard from Brother Ruslan in a couple of weeks.

  • Reynardine

    I have mentioned this in a thread below, but I am asking both staff and commenters to consider the following infamitá:

    http://m.nydailynews.com/news/.....bled=false

    and to consider whether, coupled with today’s NRA ad targeting the President’s daughters, the NRA may qualify as a hate organization.

  • Erika

    The sad part is that in this modern United States of America “pretty consistent with mainstream conservative” views and posting on a white supremacist websites is not really contradictory

  • Reynardine

    Don’t cry, Aron. Have a Kleenex.

  • Aron

    Damme. I just noticed Rey beat me to the punch. Oh well!

  • Aron

    So does he want to ‘KLEEN’ up the streets?

  • Stephen

    CARL & FOREST99, you do realize he posted to ACTUAL hate sites? He went on ACTUAL hate radio shows. There is ACTUAL hard evidence the reporter posted here.

    A “smear” by his opponent would require conflation. If his opponent did put the reporter up to this, then it’s a VERY noteworthy policy difference. Personally, I would want to know if a candidate -as a full grown, highly educated man- actively sought to post content on and participate in the propaganda mouthpieces of hate groups.

  • Forest99

    It’s one thing to attack a man for being conservative or even ultraconservative on some issues, but this is a pretty serious accusation that could endanger this person and their family – all because someone wanted to create a scandal for a blog post. And how do we know his political opponents didn’t put this writer up to it?

  • Shadow Wolf

    Nah, I’m not buying into his retraction. He’s clearly full of it, because of the position he now holds. If he had it his way now, that county has their own version of Russell Pearce (co-sponsor of SB1070 AZ). Heavily waging war on the non-white community through legislative measures. I still consider Mr. Kleen an extremist, until he actually supports moderate passages and initiatives.

    Actions speak louder than words.

  • Carl

    This “journalist” is trying to make a name for herself by smearing a good man. If you actually read what Kleen wrote, it is pretty typical conservative stuff. Maybe you disagree with him, but to smear him by association because he did some interviews with a controversial Internet radio show is beyond sleazy. This author should be ashamed of herself.

  • Satorui

    wait so this guy’s a neo-nazi who’s into the supernatural?… *stocks up on mistletoe, ashwood stakes, crossbows, silver bullets and everything else needed to kill a nazi werwolf and calls in the the baltic style good guy weres for backup

  • Illinoisan

    Didn’t this guy also write about Obama’s Maoist beliefs?! I am pretty sure he is indeed a birther.

  • concernedcitizen

    Genius can be found in brevity, and I really found the posting unkleen very funny and bursting with truth.

    I don’t believe that Mr. Kleen is being forthcoming in his intentions and his philosophical/political leanings.

    Hate is a horrible thing but it’s really harmful when people propagate it and try to cover it up with a smile and a childish, “I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about”, indifferent, and deceitful attitude and response.

  • adamhill

    He denies present affiliation with the three groups/activities in question because they edited his articles to be “salacious,” started promoting birtherism, and because he used to be (in his “youth”) more “radical.”

    He doesn’t, however, deny affiliation with these groups/activities because they spread racial hatred. Therein lies the rub, for anyone considering voting for him.

  • Reynardine

    UnKleen!

  • Meg Hill

    What a total tool!

  • Erika

    Mainstream Republican or Extremist “Hate Group”? Is it possible to even tell the difference anymore?