UPDATE July 18, 2016, 12:16 a.m. : According to Jason Lewis's Q2 report, this contribution was "refunded July 14, 2016."
Lewis's fundraising report was filed on July 15, 2016; our post was published on July 14, 2016 and is based on the July 13, 2016 filing by US Immigration Reform PAC (see page 10 here). While the PAC's FEC report lists the contribution was made on June 2, 2016, Lewis's report has the check being received on May 31, 2016.
Thus, the campaign held on to the check for nearly a month and a half, only to be refunded the day we posted our story. A coincidence or whatever. [end update]
In the race for the open seat in Minnesota's Second Congressional district, US Immigration Reform PAC gave endorsed Republican candidate Jason Lewis's campaign $1,000 last month.
Lewis was one of seven congressional candidates the PAC gave money to this quarter.
USIRPAC was founded by Federation for American Immigration Reform patriarch John Tanton. His wife Mary Lou is the committee's president. The PAC is currently managed by Timothy Dionisopoulos, who was previously active with the white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization, founded by Kevin DeAnna.
Imagine 2050 reported on the 2014 hiring of Dionisopoulos in White Nationalist Hired to Manage Anti-Immigrant PAC:
The anti-immigrant movement has attempted to distance itself from criticism since its ties to white nationalism were exposed. However, those distancing efforts have proven to be ineffectual given the anti-immigrant movement’s main political action committee has hired a prominent white nationalist as its manager going into the 2014 election season.
Last year, the US Immigration Reform PAC (USIR) quietly revealed that Tim Dionisopoulos would succeed James R. Edwards – a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) fellow and lobbyist for the anti-immigrant movement – and become the committee’s next manager. Originally operating under the name “FAIR PAC” in reference to John Tanton’s flagship anti-immigrant organization Federation for American Immigration (FAIR), USIR has served as the movement’s campaign contribution arm since the early 1990s. Tanton’s wife, Mary Lou, still serves as the committee’s president.
Dionisopoulos is a graduate of Providence College in Rhode Island. During his time on campus, he founded and led a local chapter of the white nationalist student group Youth for Western Civilization (YWC). In Providence, Dionisopoulos and YWC were best known for the anti-immigration protests they organized both on and off campus. Dionisopoulos was also a member of Rhode Islanders for Illegal Immigration Enforcement (RIILE) – a FAIR state contact group. After being introduced by RIILE President Terry Gorman during a 2010 Minutemen rally in Rhode Island, Dionisopoulos spoke to the crowd citing the theories of deceased white nationalist Sam Francis. . . .
Read more about the PAC manager's ties to white nationalists in the article. Here's a video about the Dionispoulos' speech and its intellectual underpinnings:
This connection may only stoke the zeal of those Republican activists who endorsed Lewis fully knowing his views on women, Hurricane Katrina victims and slavery. At Think Progress, Aaron Rupar reported in May's Minnesota Republicans Just Endorsed A Congressional Candidate Who Would Make Trump Blush:
During his radio host days, Jason Lewis ranted about how young women are more concerned with birth control and abortion than economics, characterized Hurricane Katrina victims as “a bunch of whiners,” and questioned whether the Union had just cause to end slavery by fighting the Confederacy during the Civil War.
Those sorts of comments are an opposition researcher’s dream and dominated news coverage of Lewis’ congressional campaign early this year. They drew a rebuke from the Minnesota Republican Party’s deputy chairman and prompted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to create a “Never Lewis” website. Yet over the weekend, Lewis won the Republican Party’s endorsement for the Minnesota 2nd congressional district seat being vacated by retiring Rep. John Kline (R-MN).
More fodder for anti-Lewis electability arguments?
Lewis's comments have become an issue in the Republican primary in the Second. At the Pioneer Press, David Montgomery reported last week in 2nd District race heating up with GOP primary one month out:
The Republican battle for Congress in Minnesota’s 2nd District is dominated by one word: electability. . . .
Lewis is a former talk-radio host who won the Republican Party’s endorsement in May. Miller is a businesswoman who has the backing of the 2nd District’s retiring congressman, Rep. John Kline. They’re joined by dark-horse candidate John Howe, a former state senator, and little-known newcomer Matt Erickson. . . .
Miller’s campaign, too, is based heavily on her claims to superior electability. In a recent email to supporters, Miller’s campaign ratcheted up the rhetoric by calling Lewis “fundamentally unelectable” because of controversial comments he made about slavery in his book, “Power Divided is Power Checked: The Argument for States’ Rights.”
As part of a discussion of same-sex marriage in the book’s audio version, Lewis said: “People always say, ‘Well, if you don’t want to marry somebody of the same sex, you don’t have to, but why tell somebody else they can’t?’ You know if you don’t want to own a slave, don’t. But don’t tell other people they can’t.”
Damian said that “these comments will cost Republicans both this seat and hurt us down and across the ballot in Minnesota.”
Lewis says that his words are being taken out of context, and that he was actually arguing the pro-same-sex marriage argument was “so ridiculous that if you believe that, you have to believe this position” about slavery.
The winner of the Republican primary will face DFLer Angie Craig.
Photo: Timothy Dionisopoulos, via Imagine 2050.
If you appreciate our posts and original analysis, you can mail contributions (payable to Sally Jo Sorensen P.O. Box 108, Maynard MN 56260) or use the paypal button in the upper right hand corner of this post.
Or you can contribute via this link to paypal; use email sally.jo.sorensen at gmail.com as recipient.