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LANSING- Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer is calling on a host of well-known Republicans to cut their ties to and condemn Michigan State University’s chapter of Young Americans for Freedom because it is identified as a hate group.
“Republicans need to condemn the (MSU) YAF immediately for its hateful statements and actions. It is unacceptable that Republican leaders and elected officials are sitting on the sidelines as one of their youth groups spread hate and discrimination. Republican leadership needs to take action to end the bigotry of their youth groups,” Brewer said in a press statement.
MSU YAF was officially listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center on April 26 when SPLC posted its 2006 hate group listings on its web site. MSU YAF is the first university recognized and affiliated hate group that SPLC is aware of. The group is led by Kyle Bristow.
Brewer and the state Democrats called on the Republicans to condemn MSU YAF. Specifically, he asks refutation from U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI Dist. 8), Michigan Sec. of State Terri Lynn Land, State Attorney General Mike Cox, former Republican candidate for governor Dick DeVos and Republican State Chair Saul Anuzis, all of whom are pictured with Bristow on his web site, kylebristow.com.
But far from condemning him, on a radio show last week Saul Anuzis said, “This (Kyle Bristow) is exactly the type of young kid we want out there.”
Later in the show Anuzis added, “I’ve known Kyle for years and I can tell you I have never heard him say a racist or bigoted or sexist thing ever.”
In a counter attack, Republicans attempted to slam Brewer for representing the Ku Klux Klan in the 1990’s in a legal dispute over their right to rally on the steps of the capitol. Brewer told BTL that he represented them as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
“Look, I condemned what they said and stood for, even as I represented them. On the other hand, the Republicans are working with the leader of a hate group, and not condemning them. It’s not the same thing at all.”
Silvia Warner, spokesperson for Rogers, failed to return BTL calls as did Anuzis’ office. Kelly Chesney, a spokesperson for the Michigan Dept. of State, did return BTL’s phone call. When asked for Land’s comment on MSU YAF, Chesney said, “She has a dialogue with a number of groups whose beliefs she does not support. I don’t think she’s going to condemn anyone.”
Chesney did promise to talk with Land and call back with a statement from her.
MSU YAF’s influence in Republican politics appears to be spreading in spite of the growing controversy. Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney appointed MSU YAF lobbyist, Priti Kothari, as one of the Youth Campaign Chairs for his Michigan campaign. The biography the Romeny camp sent out about Kothari failed to mention her leadership role in MSU YAF, but touted her involvement in the College Republicans.
Calls requesting comment from the Romney campaign on why they appointed a leader involved in a hate group were not returned by either the Michigan campaign office or the Boston headquarters.
In addition, CMU YAF leader Dennis Lennox III was also appointed to Romney’s campaign team, although his involvement in the YAF chapter, which the CMU student senate called a hate group, was in Lennox’ biography.