NBC News reports on tea party Republican Congressional candidate Allen West’s tied to a motorcycle group with criminal ties. This as money continues to pour into his campaign from a Karl Rove founded group whose secret donors may include foreign companies. First, the NBC report, which is being eagerly forwarded around this evening by the DCCC. Watch:
So who are the Outlaws?
Here’s how they operate in Virginia, per a June story in the Washington Post:
Twenty-three members of the Outlaws motorcycle gang have been indicted by a grand jury in Virginia on charges they were part of a complex criminal enterprise that engaged in assaults, kidnapping, drug dealing, illegal gambling and even attempted murder, federal authorities announced Tuesday.
Among those charged is Mark Steven Fiel, known as “Snuff,” 59, who officials say is president of the Outlaws’ Manassas/Shenandoah Valley chapter. Four other alleged members of that Virginia chapter were indicted. So was Jack Rosga, a.k.a. “Milwaukee Jack,” 53, the Outlaws’ national boss.
The 50-page indictment, handed up Thursday and unsealed Tuesday, provides a window into what authorities say is a highly organized and violent gang that operates using a well-defined chain of command and a strict code.
Members, who become part of the gang only by a unanimous chapter vote that follows a probationary period, earn patches to show their loyalty. They pay dues, can be taxed to cover a member’s legal costs and may be beaten if they break club rules, according to the indictment.
The Outlaws’ “entire environment revolves around violence,” said Neil H. MacBride, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, where the indictment was secured.
He said authorities have been working to dismantle the gang, and court papers show that some undercover officers have infiltrated its ranks.
Authorities allege that the Outlaws, with Rosga at the helm, were trying to expand their influence nationwide and targeted rival gangs, especially Hells Angels. Gang leaders in several states, including Virginia, Wisconsin, Maine, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee were charged.
The indictment lays out violent incidents across the country:
In 2005, Outlaws ran a rival gang member who was on a motorcycle off the road in New Hampshire and left him injured after taking his vest, the indictment states.
Three members followed and shot a Hells Angels member in Maine in October 2009, seriously injuring him. In December, a member kidnapped and threatened an undercover Knoxville, Tenn., officer who was posing as a gang member. …
Interestingly enough, the Outlaws also have a history when it comes to black people, of which West is one [Edited from previous version, per valid objections by readers to my characterization of West.] From the FBI field office in Washington:
In November 2008, Outlaws members are charged in the indictment of assaulting a black male at the Hard Times Café in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for no other reason but his race, and then intimidating witnesses and instructing fellow Outlaws members to lie to obstruct law enforcement’s investigation of the assault.
The indictment also includes allegations of the Outlaws regularly distributing and using narcotics, engaging in illegal gambling activities, and the regular use of firearms and other dangers weapons.
The Outlaws are just one of several motorcycle “clubs” or gangs that are very much on the radar of law enforcement. Many of them are violent, and most of them are, shall we say, racially homogeneous. But West appears to be comfortable in their company.
It’s not known whether Karl Rove, who famously said the known-to-be harmless Christine O’Donnell, who won the Republican primary in Delaware, is “nutty,” knew of the background of his latest recipient of largesse, which came in the form of a quarter million dollar ad buy for West, who is competing in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District. That money, on top of the record $5 million haul West took in himself, bought this ad for the candidate, who has been edging away form some of his more extreme tea party rhetoric in the general campaign:
Not exactly edgy stuff. TRR will attempt to reach out to American Crossroads for comment.
It might also be a good idea to seek comment from Speaker in Waiting John Boehner, who campaigned with West this past week...
…and from the NRCC. As the DCCC points out, from the in-box:
The Justice Department has said that the Outlaws produce and distribute methamphetamine, and engage in other criminal activities including arson, homicide, and prostitution. [Justice Department, National Gang Threat Assessment 2009, Published January 2009, accessed 9/13/10]
This past Monday, Republican Leader John Boehner was raising money for Allen West in Florida. This past Tuesday, NRCC Executive Director Guy Harrison touted West’s candidacy. Republican leaders, including Eric Cantor and Sarah Palin, support Allen West.
Allen West is just the latest Republican candidate with an extremely disturbing past that Republican Leader Boehner and the NRCC have promoted.
It will also be interesting to find out if West’s biggest donors, which include rather stodgy corporations, will take kindly to his … um … associations… The top contributors?
1. TBC Corp. $21,200. Based in Palm Beach Gardens, this company sells tires through big-name stores such as Tire Kingdom and Merchant’s Tire & Auto Centers.
2. Bank of America. $11,000. Otherwise known as Bailed Out of America, this firm received billions of your taxpayer dollars when the economy went bust. Luckily, it still had plenty of dough left over to lobby on Capitol Hill.
3. Hypower Inc. $10,500. A Fort Lauderdale-based contracting company that does electrical and engineering work. Interestingly, it’s owned by the Paul-Hus brothers, including Richard Paul-Hus, the North Broward Hospital Board treasurer, appointed to the board by (then-Republican) Gov. Charlie Crist.
4. Sunshine PAC. $10,000. This group is affiliated with former longtime Republican U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw Jr. It should shock no one to learn that Clay wants West to follow in his footsteps representing the 22nd congressional district, which covers the coast from Oakland Park to Palm Beach Gardens.
5. Freedom Project. $10,000. House Republican Leader John Boehner’s PAC to elect Tea Party-type candidates to Congress. In 2009, the PAC received at least $5,000 from Koch Industries, the oil giant that has also given handsomely to Marco Rubio’s campaign.