Tanton, for instance, wrote to Robert Graham, who'd started a sperm bank with the semen of Nobel Prize winners.

"Do we leave it to individuals to decide that they are the intelligent ones who should have more kids? And more troublesome, what about the less intelligent, who logically should have less?" Tanton wrote.

Beirich went back to SPLC's headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, and published reports on Tanton's white-supremacist associations. This further outraged FAIR, the CIS, and NumbersUSA, which did not take kindly to the SPLC hate label. CIS has attempted to deflect the negative image by deriding Beirich as a priss not unlike Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" character on Saturday Night Live. It calls Bierich's work a "distorted and dishonest narrative" that exaggerated the relationship between CIS, FAIR, and NumbersUSA.


Editor’s note: Former New Times staff writer Terry Greene Sterling is the author of the new book Illegal: Life and Death in Arizona’s Immigration War Zone and is writer-in-residence at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Jennifer Gaie Hellum assisted with research on white-nationalist groups. Sterling's personal Web site is www.terrygreenesterling.com.

CIS even held a seminar to discredit the SPLC, which it portrays as a bloated, self-serving nonprofit that funnels funds to overpaid directors while ignoring poor people.

Jerry Kammer, a former Arizona Republic reporter who helped bring a Pulitzer Prize to a San Diego newspaper, is now a "senior research fellow" for CIS. At the panel convened this fall to discredit the SPLC, Kammer bashed the organization but also sought to distance himself from Tanton, who, he says, "has a tin ear for the sensitivities of immigration."

Tanton is a "distraction" in the immigration movement, Kammer said, because he "sometimes speaks with a freewheeling bluntness that even those who admire him find upsetting."

What Kammer did not note is that the SPLC is not the first organization to call the motives of FAIR's founder into question. In the 1990s, several magazines and newspapers profiled Tanton and pointed out his controversial views.

"Do conservatives who embrace FAIR know all they should about the object of their affections?" conservative Tucker Carlson wondered in a 1997 piece in the Wall Street Journal.

And Carlson was appalled that Tanton told the Detroit Free Press that he wanted borders sealed to avoid overrunning the country with people "defecating and creating garbage and looking for jobs."

Three years later, the Anti-Defamation League took on FAIR. "Unfortunately, FAIR and other anti-immigrant groups have used reckless, distorted language and tactics that cloud and inhibit responsible debate," the ADL concluded in a report.

Since that report was issued, the Tanton network has been blasted for white-nationalist ties by several progressive groups, including the Center for New Community, a pro-immigrant group in Chicago, and the NAACP, which in October published a report on its Web site that linked white nationalists to anti-immigrant factions in Tea Party movements.

Even today, John Tanton sees nothing wrong with associating with white nationalists. He says he doesn't necessarily agree with them, but reaching out to them is part of his "coalition building."

And he's not ashamed of soliciting $1.5 million in unrestricted donations during FAIR's early days from the Pioneer Fund, an American foundation that has long financed research in "race science." FAIR doesn't take Pioneer money anymore, though the creepy foundation still is going strong.

The Pioneer Fund's current president, J. Philippe Rushton, is a Canadian college psychology professor who still studies race-intelligence connections.

In a July article for the online journal VDARE.com, named after Virginia Dare, the first white baby born in the New World, Rushton wrote that his recent research proved that black 17-year-olds consistently scored at the level of white 14-year-olds on math and reading tests.

Other VDARE.com contributors include white nationalists whose correspondence with Tanton is archived at the University of Michigan.

Sam Francis and Jared Taylor are associated with the white-separatist Council of Conservative Citizens, birthed from the White Citizens Councils of the 1950s and '60s in the South. The CCC Web site disparages blacks, Jews, and Latinos. One of the group's goals is to "oppose the massive immigration of non-European and non-Western peoples into the United States that threatens to transform our nation into a non-European majority in our lifetime."

Jared Taylor also edits American Renaissance, a white nationalist Web site.

Another VDARE.com contributor, Kevin MacDonald, is a director of American Third Position, a white-nationalist political party that reportedly donated money to Jan Brewer's SB 1070 defense fund.

MacDonald edits Occidental Quarterly, a white nationalist publication.

His good friend, retired Vanderbilt professor Virginia Deane Abernethy, an avowed "European American separatist," has also written for VDARE. Abernathy believes sending food and aid to Third World countries will "exacerbate overpopulation."

And recently, she wrote a blurb calling the violent new American white-nationalist novel White Apocalypse "an emotionally compelling account of whites as historical victims of non-whites — just the sort of thing we need to motivate a renaissance among our people."

Tom Tancredo has written for VDARE, and so has his friend Pat Buchanan.

And Tanton's funding nonprofit funneled $15,000 to VDARE in 2007 and 2008, according to the most recent federal tax reports for US Inc.

Tanton is a good writer. (He once won an essay contest sponsored by The Scientific American.) He contributes to and publishes the Social Contract Press, edited by Wayne Lutton, his co-author of a book called The Immigration Invasion.

Lutton, whom Tanton calls a "very nice guy," has addressed the Council of Conservative Citizens, and he's lent his editorial expertise to American Renaissance's Web site.

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