Kari Lake spoke to ‘extremist’ Texas group and then misidentified them in a Senate filing  [Arizona Republic]

Monday, March 4th, 2024

ARIZONA -– Today, a new report from the Arizona Republic, exposed that Kari Lake gave a paid speech in 2023 to a group labeled an “extremist, anti-government group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”. Lake was paid $15,000 for her speech to the group, whose “executives drew national scrutiny for social media remarks after a 2019 massacre of Latinos that blamed the bloodshed on mass immigration, not the gunman.”

In her speech to the True Texas Project, Lake praised Fred McCarty, the group’s executive who appeared to sympathize with the El Paso shooter who killed 23 people and wounded another 22.

Read more:

Arizona Republic: Kari Lake spoke to ‘extremist’ Texas group and then misidentified them in a Senate filing

By: Ron Hansen

March 4th, 2024

Key Points:

  • Six months before she formally entered the U.S. Senate race, Kari Lake received $15,000 to speak to the True Texas Project, an organization labeled an extremist, anti-government group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Lake later misidentified the Texas group in her financial disclosures to the U.S. Senate records office, using a name the controversial organization had not used for years before she addressed them in 2023.
  • The group’s extremist designation came years after one of the group’s executives drew national scrutiny for social media remarks after a 2019 massacre of Latinos that blamed the bloodshed on mass immigration, not the gunman.
  • Lake’s recent personal financial disclosure filed with the Senate’s Office of Public Records identified True Texas Project by its original name, the NE Tarrant County Tea Party. The Senate Ethics Committee, which establishes the rules for the reports, did not respond to a request for comment about the matter.
  • The True Texas Project also did not respond to a request for comment about its name or past statements on the El Paso rampage.
  • When Lake submitted the report in January, she also checked a box saying the information was “true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
  • Her Senate campaign declined to comment. An amended financial disclosure report, which added a reference to a family trust, also did not correctly identify the group.
  • Signs with the correct name of the Texas group surrounded Lake when she gave the 40-minute speech, which she posted on her social media.
  • The speech at the group’s annual “Texas Tough” event, was a grab bag of Lake’s usual talking points. She talked about how a rigged and stolen election in Arizona kept her out of the governor’s office, her love of the Second Amendment and grievances against the media.
  • Lake gave a special acknowledgment during her remarks to Fred McCarty, a board member of the organization and who heads the True Texas Project’s political action committee. “We want to copy this in Arizona,” she told the crowd after thanking him by name.
  • McCarty gained attention in August 2019 for writing on Facebook that the slayings of 23 people by a white nationalist at an El Paso Walmart were “blowback” for replacing “a once proud, strong people.”
  • Patrick Wood Crusius walked into the store with a semi-automatic rifle and killed 23 people and wounded another 22 in a rampage over “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” He is serving 90 consecutive life sentences.
  • Shortly before the attack, Crusius posted a manifesto online that supported white nationalism and the racist replacement theory that views America’s demographic change as a plot to subvert native-born whites with an influx of immigrants. Lake also has made comments that one expert on extremism said played into that conspiracy theory.
  • Crusius wrote that it will empower Democrats who are “pandering heavily to the Hispanic voting bloc,” according to an account from the Washington Post.
  • In a Facebook post a day after the shooting, Fred McCarty blamed immigrants — not the gunman — for the violence.
  • “You’re not going to demographically replace a once proud, strong people without getting blow-back,” McCarty wrote, according to accounts in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “You can pacify some with degeneracy, drugs and propaganda but not all will be distracted. People are going to act out and that is precisely why the elites want to disarm us.”
  • He went on to say, “You can’t coexist with people who want to take away your right to self-determination. … Imagine flooding a place with foreign people to the point that the native population will become a minority. Then imagine being shocked at the strife and hostility that results. Imagine.”
  • His wife, Julie McCarty, who founded the True Texas Project in 2009 and is its CEO, echoed her husband’s sentiments in a post of her own. “I don’t condone the actions, but I certainly understand where they came from,” she wrote.
  • The McCarty comments came as the organization had rebranded itself that year, from its Tarrant County title to something reflecting its wider ambitions.
  • Two years later, a member of the group twice said “white power” to an Asian city council member in Colleyville, Texas, in incidents that drew condemnation from other council members.
  • In 2021, the Washington Post wrote about the group and its close relations with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. The senator’s father, who is seen as a campaign surrogate for his son, spoke to the group after its leaders defended the pro-Trump mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol months earlier.
  • In 2022, the SPLC designated the Texas organization an extremist, anti-government group.
  • As she usually does, Lake’s speech to the group blamed a scarcely identified “they” and a “uniparty” that doesn’t accept former President Donald Trump’s political vision and style.
  • She discussed her meeting with the then-head of the Arizona Republican Party a month earlier in which she was essentially offered a blank check to stay out of the Senate race. She didn’t identify who made her the offer, but she characterized it as she has at other times as a window into sleazy politics as usual.

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