Protect Arizona Now (PAN), a group backing a harsh anti-immigration referendum that would jail government employees who fail to report suspected illegal aliens applying for social welfare benefits, has appointed a well-known white supremacist to head its national advisory board.
The Center for New Community, an antiracist group based in Chicago, reported that PAN director Kathy McKee in July brought in Virginia Abernethy, a retired professor who is tied closely to the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC; see Communing with the Council) hate group.
Although Abernethy denied being a supremacist, telling the Arizona Daily Star that she was merely a white "separatist" who preferred to be "with my own kind," she was immediately denounced by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). FAIR, which helped pay to gather signatures for the referendum but later broke angrily with McKee, described Abernethy's views as "repugnant."
That was a remarkable statement, given FAIR's own longstanding ties to the CCC, other white supremacists, and even to Abernethy herself. Consider:
- FAIR worked closely with a hate group, the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), to pay signature-gatherers for the referendum. Together, they spent $305,500. Like Abernethy, AICF's leader, John Vinson, is an adviser to the CCC, a group that has described blacks as a "retrograde species of humanity." FAIR has not criticized Vinson in any way.
- FAIR worked with aicf in another group, the Coalition for the Future of the American Worker (CFAW), that recently ran harsh anti-immigration ads in a Texas congressional race. Both the Republican and the Democratic campaigns in that race have denounced the ads as racially inflammatory and asked that television stations not run them. CFAW's president is FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein.
FAIR's Western Regional Coordinator, Rick Oltman, is a member of the CCC, according to that group's own newspaper. Oltman shared the podium with Abernethy at a 1997 CCC conference.
In September 2002, FAIR's Eastern Regional Coordinator, Jim Stadenraus, participated in a Long Island anti-immigration conference with Jared Taylor, a CCC board member and the founder and head of another hate group, the New Century Foundation.
FAIR's Dan Stein is an editorial adviser to The Social Contract, a journal that is published by a hate group and has featured articles by Abernethy. The journal is edited by Wayne Lutton, another adviser to the CCC.
FAIR cites on its Web site a man named Fred Elbel, who is PAN's webmaster and also heads the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform — another group which Abernethy advises. Elbel is tied to FAIR founder John Tanton.
Calls asking for comment from FAIR's Dan Stein were not returned. Two anti-immigration groups led by Abernethy, Carrying Capacity Network and Population Environment Balance, also declined to comment.
PAN's McKee, meanwhile, told a reporter that Abernethy was "honest, sincere, bright," and would stay on.