Speaker Pelosi Should Recind This Invitation, Yesterday
There is no possible way Nancy Pelosi had any idea who was behind this proposal. However, should someone bring this background to her attention, she might want to find a way to recind this invitation, like, pronto.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has approved a Robert E. Lee birthday celebration on April 7th at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) Chapter No. 644.
Sounds harmless so far, right? The UDC is a legitimate historical organization, not unlike the Daughters of the American Revolution and similar descendants groups. This particular chapter, however, brings along some unfortunate baggage:
The organization is being joined in the celebration by the Jefferson Davis Camp No. 305 of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV). Richard Hines, the commander of the Jefferson Davis Camp No. 305 is the major financial sponsor of Kirk Lyons, the white supremacist lawyer for the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, according to John Edward Hurley, president of the Confederate Memorial Association.
Mr. Hurley has a problem with Mr. Lyons going back quite a few years. In fact if one were to be quite honest about the matter Mr. Hurley gives the strong impression of being something of a nut. However, nuts have rights too, and as it happens he is entirely correct about Kirk Lyons, his connection to the Aryan Nations (he married the founder's daughter for chrissakes!) and his takeover of the Sons of Confederate Veterans for purposes of adding the substantial membership and budget of the SCV to the AN's feeble coffers.
Hurley said that Hines worked with Karl Rove in delivering the South Carolina vote for George W. Bush in the 2000 South Carolina primary. While a $300,000 lobbyist for the West African nation of Gambia, Hines impersonated a congressman while presenting an award from the White House to the Gambian president, Hurley claimed.
Corporate filings in D.C. for the Jefferson Davis Camp show Hines as the commander of the group, and list Thomas Moore as a director. Moore lobbies for the leading small arms manufacturer in the world, Fabrique Nationale.
Hurley said, "Robert E. Lee would turn over in his grave if knew that white supremacists would be celebrating his 200th birthday." According to Hurley, there is a fraud investigation under way involving these groups and missing artifacts in the 1997 sale of the century-old Confederate museum and library in downtown Washington.
That last bit is Hurley's particular bugabear as he used to run the museum in question. The details of the claims, counterclaims and the like are quite convoluted and I leave it to those interested to Google the matter if they are in search of further details.
However: point here is that we do not want the names "Nancy Pelosi" and "Kirk Lyons" in the same hemisphere together, much less the same paragraph. I am sure that this was handled by some clerk and Pelosi scribbled an approval as part of a massive stack of authorizations for Girl Scout tours, permits to visit the Old Capitol Prison, and similar housekeeping details as part of her responsibility as Speaker.
This group is a bad one though. Their First Amenement rights to spout their nonsense is sacrosanct and inviolable, but nobody says they have an automatic right to use Statuary Hall for this purpose.