Longform

Jingo All the Way

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Crawford writes that Chavez learned not only about Pioneer Fund contributions but also that Tanton had solicited large contributions from philanthropist Cordelia Scaife May, who donated generously to FAIR and U.S. English, as well as Population-Environment Balance. Tax returns show that May gave at least $5.8 million to the groups during the 1980s. "Her funding decisions have increasingly favored groups working to reduce fertility in the Third World or to limit the flow of Third World immigrants," Crawford writes.

Chavez learned that May had also paid $5,000 to help disseminate The Camp of the Saints, a French novel by Jean Raspail. What The Turner Diaries is to the American militia movement, Raspail's book about hordes of Third World undesirables overrunning Europe is to nativists. The book's popularity with Tantonites, Chavez realized, was further proof that she had got in with the wrong crowd.

Questioned by the press about Pioneer Fund contributions, Tanton claimed to know nothing about the fund other than its support of the University of Minnesota twins study. He claimed to be ignorant about the Pioneer Fund's connection to numerous researchers seemingly intent on proving the inferiority of blacks, as well as its unsavory ties to Nazism.

Today, Tanton remains active in FAIR and publishes books and videotapes from his hometown. Among the materials published by his Social Contract Press: Roy Beck's video Immigration by the Numbers.

Tanton's supposed ignorance about the Pioneer Fund didn't explain FAIR's continuing to accept its money. As late as 1994, the lobbying group accepted Pioneer Fund cash--$100,500 that year, according to tax records--until FAIR finally decided to accept no more money from Weyher's group.

By then, FAIR was embroiled in another controversy which invited press inquiry about its funding.

1994 had witnessed an explosive debate over publication of the book The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, who concluded that innate differences in IQ levels suggested the inferiority of blacks and that government programs intended to improve black achievement, programs such as Head Start and Affirmative Action, were doomed to failure. For their data, Herrnstein and Murray had relied heavily on the IQ research of many Pioneer Fund recipients--a fact repeatedly noted by the book's many critics.

That brought new attention to FAIR's connection to the Pioneer Fund at a time when the organization's western regional coordinator, Rick Oltman, was serving as chairman of a Yes on 187 campaign--California's so-called "Save Our State" initiative. The initiative, which passed with 59 percent of the vote, threatens to deny illegal immigrants access to such basic state institutions as welfare, schools and hospitals. (The initiative is currently not in effect as the courts consider its constitutionality.)

For opponents attempting to characterize the initiative as a shortsighted, bigoted reaction to illegal immigration rather than a solution to it, Oltman's and FAIR's connections to the Pioneer Fund proved irresistible fodder. As did revelations that the initiative had been co-authored by one of FAIR's paid consultants.

FAIR shrugs off questions about its funding and advertises itself as the largest and most mainstream of national immigration-control organizations. (In contrast to the American Immigration Control Foundation, a group which has also received Pioneer Fund money and tends to be more strident in its rhetoric; its president is John Vinson, who warns constantly about the "national suicide" of accepting more immigrants.)

Oltman, who not only spoke at the November 10 Phoenix press conference but also made several radio appearances over a period of weeks and seems to be a prime mover in the Arizona effort, dismisses queries about the Pioneer Fund as the desperate attempts of opponents who can't refute the merits of his claims. To Oltman, there is no confusion about his motivations:

"Almost everyone I know that's involved with this is involved because they want to preserve the country and the culture," he says in a telephone interview.

"I mean, when I see that the city of San Jose spends a couple hundred thousand dollars erecting on city property an Aztec god but they won't let Christians put up a cross at Christmastime on city property, that affects the culture.

"We're not an Aztec culture, we're a Christian culture."

Maria Sepulveda, the daughter of Chilean immigrants who works as a spokeswoman for Population-Environment Balance, detests press reports that dwell on the Pioneer Fund and its connection to FAIR and the American Immigration Control Foundation. "Most of the people who write these articles are Hispanics. Most of them take it personally. But how much of it is actual investigation and how much is just trying to hurt our mission?"

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Tony Ortega
Contact: Tony Ortega