The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Civil Rights Group Demands Speaker Boehner Strip Majority Whip Scalise of his Leadership Position asks if David Duke’s threat to “name names” is why Boehner refuses to act


A local Louisiana political writer recently uncovered that House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) gave a speech at a 2002 conference for the European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), a white supremacist group run by former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. has launched a petition demanding Speaker Boehner and the GOP caucus removed Scalise from his leadership position.


Arisha Hatch, Managing Director of Campaigns, issued the following statement:

"More than 40,000 ColorOfChange members have demanded Speaker Boehner take action and we will hold him accountable if he continues to make excuses for Scalise in a craven attempt to retain power in Congress.

"Instead of taking decisive action to strip Majority Whip Steve Scalise of his leadership position, Speaker John Boehner issued a statement of support and reaffirmed Scalise's position as the #3 Republican in the House of Representatives. With yesterday's announcement that Mr Boehner will face opposition in the race for Speaker from the ultra-conservative wing of the GOP, he seems more concerned with consolidating power than challenging racism within his caucus.

"By speaking to EURO, Scalise chose to pander to racists and exploit their hatred for his own political gain. His speech attacked a government program to help the poor using the same type of racially-divisive rhetoric -- though in this case less coded -- which far too many in Boehner's Republican caucus use to rally support.

"Scalise's actions were clearly intentional and calculated. Why, then, is Speaker Boehner trying to brush the story aside? Perhaps it's because David Duke issued him a warning that if Republicans rebuke Scalise 'then a lot of them better be looking over their shoulders,' essentially threatening to name other politicians with whom he has met.

"As Republicans take control of both houses of Congress tomorrow, Speaker Boehner and the GOP have an important choice to make: they can disavow white supremacy, strip Steve Scalise of his leadership role and stand up to David Duke; or they can leave Scalise in power and confirm that Republicans are unwilling to confront racism in their own party."

Color Of Change is the nation's largest online racial justice organization. We help people respond effectively to injustice in the world around us. As a national online force driven by over one million members, we move decision-makers in corporations and government to create a more human and less hostile world for Black people in America.