RSN Fundraising Banner
Kris Kobach Accepted Donations From White Nationalists
Written by <a href="index.php?option=com_comprofiler&task=userProfile&user=44175"><span class="small">Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Guardian UK</span></a>   
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 09:27

Kirchgaessner writes: "The Republican candidate for governor of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who has close ties to the Trump administration, has accepted financial donations from white nationalist sympathizers and has for more than a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views."

Kris Kobach. (photo: AP)
Kris Kobach. (photo: AP)

Kris Kobach Accepted Donations From White Nationalists

By Stephanie Kirchgaessner, Guardian UK

06 November 18

The Republican candidate for governor of Kansas has accepted thousand of dollars in donations, and has for over a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views

he Republican candidate for governor of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who has close ties to the Trump administration, has accepted financial donations from white nationalist sympathizers and has for more than a decade been affiliated with groups espousing white supremacist views.

Recent financial disclosures show that Kobach, a driving force behind dozens of proposals across the US designed to suppress minority voting and immigrant rights, has accepted thousands of dollars from white nationalists. Donors include a former official in the Trump administration who was forced to resign from the Department of Homeland Security this year after emails showed he had close ties to white supremacists and once engaged in an email exchange about a dinner party invitation that was described as “Judenfrei”, or free of Jews.

Currently the Kansas secretary of state, Kobach is running in a tight race against the Democrat Laura Kelly. The election has drawn the concern of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), after the single polling place located in Dodge City was moved outside the town, in what some claimed to be an attempt to suppress the Hispanic vote.

Kobach, who was vice-chairman of the Trump administration’s now disbanded election-fraud commission, is known for his zero-tolerance approach to undocumented migrants and his staunch support for voter ID laws, which critics say unfairly and illegally target minority voters.

But Kobach has gained less attention for his long history of associations with groups that espouse white nationalist views and the significant financial support they have given him since he launched his political career in 2004.

Public financial records show Kobach received political contributions from US Immigration Reform Pac, a political action committee closely affiliated with John Tanton, a retired ophthalmologist who is known as the founder of the modern American anti-immigrant movement.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which tracks hate groups, studied decades of Tanton’s correspondence. It found Tanton had close contacts with Holocaust deniers, white supremacists and antisemites. In one 1993 letter, Tanton wrote: “I’ve come to the point of view that for European-American society and culture to persist requires a European-American majority, and a clear one at that.”

In 2004, a $10,000 donation from US Immigration Reform Pac helped kickstart Kobach’s career. This year the group, which is run by Tanton’s wife, Mary Lou Tanton, donated $2,000 more to Kobach’s gubernatorial campaign. It has also contributed to the Iowa congressman Steve King, who has come under fire for his support of white supremacists and neo-Nazis in Europe, and to Mo Brooks of Alabama, a Republican congressman who has said “illegal aliens are a plague on America”.

Kobach’s campaign has also received sporadic small donations of hundreds of dollars from Paul Nachman, who is described by the SPLC as a “Montana-based extremist who regularly writes for Vdare, an overtly racist blog that serves as a hub for white nationalists and antisemites”. The blog is named after Virginia Dare, who is believed to have been the first English child born in the Americas. Asked if he considered himself to be a white nationalist, Nachman responded in an email to the Guardian: “So you think someone who’s Jewish is a white nationalist?”

Another Kobach backer is Ian Smith, who resigned from the US Department of Homeland Security earlier this year after the Atlantic published a detailed report showing that he had engaged in correspondence with white supremacists and racists. In one 2015 email obtained by the Atlantic, Smith – who did not dispute the authenticity of the emails – said he planned to visit a bar and talk to “people like Matt Parrot”, an apparent reference to a former spokesman for the neo-Nazi Traditionalist Worker Party. Smith could not be reached for comment.

Kobach has also accepted financial support from KC McAlpin, executive director of another Tanton-founded organization, US Inc, which produces the Social Contract Press, a racist and anti-immigrant publication. In 2015, Kobach gave a speech at a Social Contract Press’ Writer’s Workshop conference. Approached by the TPM blog about the appearance, McAlpin said it was “absurd” to call the meeting a white nationalist conference and pointed to the presence of “several” individuals who were black, Hispanic and Asian. According to the SPLC, the Social Contract Press was banned as hate literature by Canadian border authorities.

Kobach has been careful to avoid overt white nationalist language in his political speech but he is not known to have refused the endorsement of white nationalists or their money. After losing a 2004 bid for Congress, Kobach worked for more than a decade for the legal arm of a Tanton-founded group, the Federation For American Immigration Reform (Fair). Kobach has defended the work, saying the organization simply wanted to enforce strong rules against illegal immigration.

When the Guardian called the Social Contract Press to ask about Kobach’s relationship with Tanton, a man who would not identify himself said the pair had “minimal contact”.

“I can tell you that by the time Kris Kobach was actively involved in politics, or at least his time at Fair, that John Tanton was not involved,” the man said. Tanton, who is now 84, was suffering from Parkinson’s and living in a nursing home, the man added.

Among Kobach’s other supporters is Peter Brimelow, the British-born founder of who in 2016 endorsed Kobach to be Trump’s vice-president.

In press reports, Brimelow has been called a “longtime associate” of prominent figures in the white-nationalist movement. He received press attention earlier this year after it was reported in the Washington Post that he attended a party at the home of Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow on 18 August. Kudlow told the Post he would not have invited Brimelow if he had known about his work. Brimelow said the two were friends.

Zachary Mueller, who works for the digital communications team at America’s Voice, a group which works for immigration reform, said Kobach has been an important influence on Republican ideas about immigration, which have moved far to the right since the presidency of George W Bush.

It was Kobach, Mueller said, who helped propose the idea that life should be made so inhospitable for undocumented migrants that they would “self deport”. The view was adopted as policy by Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, though the campaign later distanced itself from Kobach.

“Kris Kobach has been a close and early ally of Donald Trump and a lot of his ideas have been adopted,” Mueller said. “I think he is smart enough to know where the lines are in terms of his language because he won’t want to be labeled a white nationalist in public, but we can look at his policies and his friends.”

He added: “The white supremacist guys, they love Kris Kobach because he can put on a suit, have the fancy degrees, and translate their ideas into something that is more palatable.”

Kobach has degrees from Harvard, Oxford and Yale Law School.

A report published in August by the Topeka-Capital Journal said Kobach’s campaign employed three men who were identified as white nationalists, citing two Republican consultants who have worked in Kansas. Kobach’s campaign dismissed the allegation as baseless.

Asked by the Guardian to comment on Kobach’s affiliation with white nationalists, spokeswoman Danedri Herbert staunchly denied that he was racist. Her defence of Kobach was entirely centred on the fact that she is African American, and had never heard him use racist language.

“I am black and I am his closest staff member,” Herbert said. “I spend more time with him than any member on his staff. He is not a racist.”

Email This Page your social media marketing partner