Family Research Council Rebuttal on David Duke Link Called into Question by Legal Document

A commentator to Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars draws attention to the following notice on the website of the Family Research Council, a US religious right organisation run by Tony Perkins (link added):

In an article in The Nation (“Justice Sunday Preachers” April 26, 2005), Max Blumenthal falsely asserts, “In 1996 [Tony] Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana.”

Tony Perkins was the manager of the 1996 U.S. Senate campaign of Republican Woody Jenkins in Louisiana where Impact Media was contracted to make pre-recorded telephone calls for the campaign. In 1999, an unrelated federal investigation uncovered that David Duke had a financial interest in the company, which he did not report to the IRS, resulting in his conviction on federal tax evasion charges. This connection was not known to Mr. Perkins until 1999.

A second commentator draws attention to this 2002 legal document  – a settlement agreement – on the website of the Federal Election Commission:

…After the 1996 primary election in Louisiana, David Duke contacted Woody Jenkins and recommended that he use the services of a computerized phone bank system run by Impact Mail. Jenkins purchased several rounds of calls from Impact Mail. After the first round of calls, Jenkins began hearing complaints that Duke’s name would appear on the caller ID when a phone bank message would arrive. At that point, Jenkins tried to cancel the transaction but was unable to because Tony Perkins, his campaign manager, had signed a contract with Impact Mail. Subsequently, Jenkins instructed Perkins to put a stop payment on the check issued to Impact Mail and directed that Impact Mail be paid through Courtney Communications, the campaign’s media firm…

For this attempt to hide the connection with Duke, Jenkins’ campaign got off very lightly with a civil penalty of $3000. These rather pertinent facts do not appear in the FRC’s statement.

All of this is of interest to Ed because Perkins was also the founder of the Louisiana Family Forum, which has just received a grant of $100,000 in taxpayers’ money in order to promote Creationism. This is thanks to the efforts Senator David Vitter, who has been desparate to improve his conservative credentials since he admitted to making use of prostitutes; the LFF’s Gene Mills helpfully jumped to Vitter’s defence by noting that Vitter has “repented of the allegations” – a rather uncharacteristically euphemistic way of referring to “sins”.

I looked at Mills and the LFF a couple of years ago, when a sub-group, the Pastor’s Resource Council (sic for apostrophe) set up PRC Compassion to dispense aid post-Katrina. See here and here.

UPDATE: Ed has a follow-up post:

…Joe Carter tells me that Perkins…says that Woody Jenkins has confirmed that he never told Perkins that Impact Mail was Duke’s company when he instructed him to sign the contract with them…We can certainly reason that Perkins found out about Duke’s involvement, at the very least, at the time that the cover up began. It stretches credulity considerably to believe that 1) he didn’t know about the complaints that Duke’s name was showing up on the caller IDs once the calls began; or 2) he didn’t bother to ask Jenkins why he was to launder the payments for Duke’s company through another company.

So it seems all but certain that even if Perkins did not know that they were using Duke’s company at the time he was told to sign the contract with them, he must have known that after the first round of calls took place, the complaints came in about the calls showing Duke’s name on the caller ID and Jenkins told him to start laundering the payments to that company to cover up that fact.

The story is also posted to Talk to Action, where there is further discussion of the evidence going on in the comments.

Ed has also taken issue with a couple of minor points in Blumenthal’s report, to which Blumenthal has responded (somewhat testily) here.

2 Responses

  1. I stumbled upon this site because I feel like I’m listening to David Duke whenever Tony Perkins speaks as another false prophet for the American Taliban.

    I was right.

  2. Tony Perkins is supported and endorsed by my former employer, Jacob Aranza, a pastor in Lafayette, LA. During Hurricane Katrina, Jacob Aranza joined the Pastors Resource Council, who received Congressional thanks, and government grants. They used young adult workers as volunteers to work 15 hour days and not get paid for it.

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