William Gheen, leader of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC (ALIPAC), took time out of his busy schedule last week to do an interview with American Free Press, a blatantly anti-Semitic organization founded by infamous holocaust denier and white supremacist Willis Carto.
American Free Press evolved out of The Spotlight, a magazine that stopped printing in 2001 after Carto’s assets were severely diminished due to a lawsuit. This lawsuit may have crippled him and his network financially but it did not dampen their spirits. Along with American Free Press, Carto publishes The Barnes Review which specializes in historical revisionism, including Holocaust denial. Last year, American Free Press held an event in Washington D.C. where David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, was the keynote speaker.
William Gheen has long denied ties to racial bigotry. However, his interview for such a well-known anti-Semitic institution seriously undermines these denials.
ALIPAC, a North Carolina-based anti-immigrant group, gained national notoriety when founder William Gheen formed a coalition with twenty-five other anti-immigrant groups in support of tea party events.
ALIPAC’s origins stem from a local California billboard advertisement that showed L.A. crossed out with Mexico written over it. Ever since, ALIPAC has been hobnobbing with vigilante minutemen groups and exacerbating racial tensions in American communities. From tea parties to stirring up swine flu fear to rallying against immigrants in Shenandoah, Gheen and ALIPAC seem to pop up everywhere that hatred needs a hand.
Despite this, Gheen has continued to maintain that ALIPAC is free from racism. ALIPAC has even gone so far as to deflect harsh criticism onto its allies in the anti-immigrant movement. This hasn’t gained the organization many fans with folks in anti-immigrant circles - who like to maintain a respectable veneer - or white nationalists - who generally like the anti-immigrant movement to openly espouse their views.
Earlier this year, ALIPAC, in the midst of organizing a massive anti-immigrant rally in Phoenix, Arizona, decided to pull out of the rally. Gheen subsequently pointed to the racist ties of one of the rally’s organizers as the reason. Some have suggested that Gheen declined to participate because of the other groups involved, not because of racism.
Whether by conscious decision or irresponsible behavior, Gheen’s participation in an interview with American Free Press spells trouble for political candidates that ALIPAC has publicly endorsed.
ALIPAC and Gheen have been focusing hard on the November elections. As he states in his American Free Press interview, Gheen is endorsing more candidates this year than ever before. According to its website, ALIPAC endorses Democrats John Barrow, Joe Donnelley, Gene Taylor, and Pete DeFazio. The overwhelming majority of ALIPAC’s endorsements (179), however, are for Republicans like Tom Tancredo, Steve King, and Michelle Bachmann. ALIPAC’s endorsements have already caused headaches for candidates when news outlets reported accusations that the group is backed by neo-Nazis.
Both Democrat and Republican candidates would do well to distance themselves from ALIPAC before the group’s unabashed pandering to xenophobic audiences damages their reputations. That is, if it hasn’t already.