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Nativists stand to gain from pro-Carson PAC whether he runs or not

Imagine 2050 Staff • Apr 28, 2014

Dr. Ben Carson has become a hero in conservative circles since he derided President Obama’s policies in a speech at last year’s National Prayer Breakfast. Now, two men with close ties to the organized anti-immigrant movement in the United States are leading the effort to encourage the former neurosurgeon to run for president.

John Phillip Sousa IV and Vernon Robinson formed The National Draft Ben Carson for President Committee – a super-PAC able to raise unlimited funds – last August. The committee has since raised more than $3 million to support a potential Carson campaign. As the Washington Post reports, the amount is nearly half-million more than a similar PAC created to encourage a Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. Given that Carson has not announced a presidential bid, Sousa and Robinson’s committee can be seen as little more than a fundraising apparatus that they in turn can profit from.

As national chairman of the committee, Sousa is paid an average of $5,000 per month in consulting fees by the PAC. The committee has also given more than $100,000 dollars to the media strategy company Robinson operates out of his former congressional campaign headquarters.

Sousa and Robinson have indeed raised a significant amount, yet nearly all of it is spent on administrative costs and further fundraising. The pro-Carson PAC is not an anomaly in this regard. Many PACs purporting to represent the populist far-Right have raised millions while providing only marginal support to candidates.

Supporting far-Right candidates and nativist causes is nothing new for John Phillip Sousa IV. In 2012, Sousa led Americans for Sheriff Joe, to support the re-election of Joe Arpaio, the notoriously anti-immigrant sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County. This was part of an effort that raised more than $1 million from out-of-state contributors. Sousa also serves on the board of advisors for the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) and is the honorary chairman of FAIR’s 7th Generation Legacy Society – a planned giving initiative whose membership is described as having “taken the steps necessary to ensure FAIR’s future.”

Robinson also has ties to the organized anti-immigrant movement as a member of the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA). Robinson has unsuccessfully run for Congress several times in North Carolina. During his failed 2012 bid, his campaign created a television ad warning of “aliens” in America “that didn’t come in a space ship.” Rather, “they came across our unguarded Mexican border…by the millions.”

“I approve of this message. And of traditional American values,” Robinson says at the ad’s conclusion.

Carson, too, stresses the importance of a certain type of “American values.” In an April 23 column for Townhall, he cautioned of a “sleeping populace that does not take seriously its voting responsibilities and places in public office (and returns to public office) people who do not represent traditional American values.” However, the likelihood of Carson pursuing the office of president to defend said values appears to be slim. When questioned about the Sousa and Robinson’s PAC last year, Carson reportedly claimed, “It’s not something [I] particularly want to do. I find life outside of politics much more appealing.”

For Sousa and Robinson, the only thing more appealing than Ben Carson in 2016 could be avoiding actually contributing to the campaign they say they are trying to inspire.


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