News Release

Researcher Cites Ashcroft “Ties to White Supremacists”


John Ashcroft, whose nomination for attorney general will be considered by the Senate later this month, “has a history of reaching out to white supremacist groups,” a longtime researcher in his home state of Missouri said today.

“An examination of Ashcroft’s recent record shows that he has actively cultivated ties to white supremacists and extreme hate groups,” said John Hickey, executive director of the Missouri Citizen Education Fund.

In a 1998 interview with the quarterly Southern Partisan, Ashcroft praised that publication, saying: “Your magazine also helps set the record straight. You’ve got a heritage of doing that, of defending Southern patriots like [Robert E.] Lee, [Stonewall] Jackson and [Jefferson] Davis. Traditionalists must do more. I’ve got to do more. We’ve all got to stand up and speak in this respect, or else we’ll be taught that these people were giving their lives, subscribing their sacred fortunes and their honor to some perverted agenda.”

The Jan. 31, 2000 issue of The New Republic reported that Southern Partisan “serves as the leading journal of the neo-Confederacy movement.” For 20 years, according to the New Republic account, Southern Partisan has been publishing “a gumbo of racist apologias.” For example: In 1996, Southern Partisan said that slave owners “encouraged strong slave families to further the slaves’ peace and happiness.” In 1990, Southern Partisan praised former KKK leader David Duke as “a Populist spokesperson for a recapturing of the American ideal.”

Southern Partisan “has a long history of catering to racism,” Hickey said today, adding that the Senate Judiciary Committee should insist that Ashcroft explain why he commended Southern Partisan as a magazine that “helps set the record straight.”

Ashcroft’s interview with Southern Partisan “was not the only example of Ashcroft reaching out to white supremacists and extreme hate groups,” Hickey said.

In May of 1999, Hickey recalled, “Sen. Ashcroft delivered the commencement address and accepted an honorary degree from Bob Jones University. This university is infamous for its racial and religious bigotry.”

Hickey, who has been researching Ashcroft’s activities over a period of years, added: “He has clearly established a pattern of reaching out to extremist groups.”

For further information, contact:

Executive Director, Missouri Citizen Education Fund

At the Institute for Public Accuracy: Norman Solomon, (415) 552-5378; Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020