TO: Media Outlets
FROM: James B. Taylor
It has come to my attention that the Harrisburg Patriot-News and other news organizations have published stories referring to me as a “white supremacist” in an attempt to damage the candidacy of Art Halvorson, a conservative running against Congressman Bill Shuster for the 9th District Congressional seat.
These accusations are false, libelous and an insult to the voters of this district. I am absolutely not a white supremacist or racist and, to be clear, I utterly reject any and all forms of racism.
It is disappointing, but not surprising, that the purveyors of this story are Bill Shuster and his henchman, Dwight Weidman, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party. It is disappointing because when I stepped down as chairman in 2010, I endorsed and worked tirelessly for Weidman to replace me, to the point that it affected my health. And Weidman greedily accepted my endorsement.
Mr. Weidman has been using his position as the Franklin County GOP chairman to blatantly give advantage to Mr. Shuster in this race. He has used his official email to recruit for the Shuster Campaign and spread this salacious attack around Franklin County.
What makes Mr. Weidman’s attacks on me even more hypocritical is that he has been accused as a racist and white supremacist himself. A 1998 Washington Post article stated that a web site run by Mr. Weidman was described as pushing “racist and white supremacist views.”
Mr. Shuster’s involvement is very disappointing. When I first moved to the district I supported him and even donated $1500 to his campaign in 2006. My admiration gradually diminished as I observed the congressman’s bullying tactics, his poor record on fiscal votes and his less than admirable personal behavior.
As our Congressman, Mr. Shuster should condemn such baseless, personal attacks against fellow Republicans, not feed the fire.
The false accusations derive from my brief membership on the board of the National Policy Institute and a donation made by America’s PAC to the Charles Martel Group. The donation was intended to help start the NPI, and though the NPI studied issues of race while I was associated with them, it was in no way a racist organization. I left after only six months because of my participation in too many other organizations which taxed my time and energy. While I believed NPI was doing good work in 2006, I would not care to be associated with material I found on their website in recent years. No one on the board and staff of NPI in 2006 is involved with the group today.
Those reporting these lies also fail to mention my more important and long-term association with the Lincoln Institute. I co-founded and have maintained a 36-year affiliation with that Institute; a black led conservative organization on whose board I still sit. In my time with the Institute I have worked with many prominent black conservative leaders, including Alan Keyes, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, and many others.
I will let the voters decide for themselves what defines me: Six months on the board of NPI or 36 years supporting African-American conservative leadership.
Shuster and Weidman use the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as their authority for painting me as a racist. But the SPLC, a radical left group, calls all manner of organizations hate groups or white supremacists. Anyone that disagrees with them on any issue, ranging from illegal immigration to Common Core, is automatically labeled as a racist or a hate group. The SPLC has even labeled Focus on the Family as a hate group.
For Mr. Weidman, acting as Mr. Shuster’s puppet, to align with this liberal hate group is desperate, distasteful and disturbing. Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows, but to ally with this left-wing, pro-Democrat group to attack fellow Republican Art Halvorson is the worst form of sleazy politics.
This front page headline in the Sunday Altoona Mirror and the article written by Bill Kibler that followed is intended to raise eyebrows.
Newspaper reporter Bill Kibler called me Friday afternoon. He said that he was following up on a phone call that he received from Altoona Salvation Army board member Frank Thompson. Kibler wanted to ask me some questions about allegations made by Thompson.
Kibler has never hesitated to call me in the past at my office or at my home about different topics. I have not hesitated to answer his questions. Although I believe that the discussion I had with Frank Thompson was private, apparently Thompson did not since he complained to a local newspaper.
Some history: WRTA’s Ken Maguda and Dave Weaver came up with the idea for the Drive by Giving effort and to raise money to buy toys for children of local families in need. That was before I was involved at the station. For thirteen years we have undertaken Drive by Giving and all the success is a result of the generosity of people in Central PA who are always willing to help.
It is my opinion that Kibler’s article and some of Mr. Thompson’s comments need clarified. To that end I have sent an email to Kibler inviting him to join me on air, Monday, 9 a.m. for Two Way Radio. I anticipate Kibler will accept my invitation to answer some questions just as I have always responded when he had questions. And since Thompson feels that this issue needs to be discussed publicly we are also inviting him to join us tomorrow.
I harbor no ill feelings for either Kibler or Thompson. Kibler does a lot of good work at the newspaper and Thompson and his family have given greatly of their time and effort working for the local Salvation Army. The reason to have these two on air is that I believe Kibler’s article and some of Mr. Thompson’s comments may put a cloud over what all the effort was about: Helping local families in need. So let the facts be out.
Finally, I sincerely wish to acknowledge and thank the Salvation Army staff and volunteers for thirteen great years of working with us on Drive By Giving. A lot of children enjoyed a brighter Christmas because of their yeoman efforts. I was told in a letter from the Salvation Army the middle of September that they are going to embark on an effort with another media outlet to promote Holiday giving. That's good news and we wish them success.
WRTA and the Radio Campus are going to continue our tradition of Drive By Giving. This year we are partnering with another local charitable organization and moving the emphasis away from toys to more of the immediate needs that local families are experiencing.
The economic situation that we are in today has resulted in more families lacking the basic necessities. We want to focus on that. And yes, once again our pledge is that every item and every dollar collected will go to assist local families. Nothing held back for overhead costs.
Now with two fund raising efforts this year more Central Pa families in need can be helped. That’s tremendous.Dave@wrta.com
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