James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, says he got involved with the American Fascist Party because he wanted to do research for a book.
The president of a Houston-area Tea Party group admits he was once involved with a fascist organization but says he never actively participated in the group's activities.
James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, issued a statement on Tuesdayin response to an article in The Texas Tribune that said Ives was once director of propaganda for a now-defunct group called the American Fascist Party.
“Before jumping to conclusions about my involvement in the now defunct left-wing fascist group, I ask that you go back and read all of my speeches, posts, radio podcasts and writings over the past five years. All are public record and available any time. You will clearly see that the theme of my works, which are public, is my fervent love of my country, God, my family, liberty and The Constitution," Ives said.
Fascism is generally considered a form of extreme right-wing ideology that puts the nation, and often race, above the individual.
Ives said he did write six posts on the American Fascist Party's Yahoo group message board in 2003. But, he added, "I never attended any meetings, never attended a single event and never physically met anyone associated with the group."
Ives, of Richmond, Texas, went on to say that he looked into the group in the early 2000s because he was interested in researching "the growth of government and its infringement on our liberties."
"I had the idea to write a book and to do adequate research, I wanted to learn the left-wing’s opposing viewpoint and understand why they felt the way they did," he said.
“This research of contrary beliefs is standard operating procedure and is no different than what Andrew Breitbart did and others regularly do every day, including members of our own Tea Party," Ives wrote, referring to the conservative blogger and activist known for putting undercover video on the Internet. "Our goal of attending such events, meetings, town halls and social sites of those with opposing viewpoints is nothing more than to understand our adversaries, see how they communicate and how they reach those of like mind."
According to the Texas Tribune, Ives never wrote a book. He did write several posts on the American Fascist Party's Yahoo message board, in which he discusses fascist beliefs and principles with his fellow "blackshirts."
On the message board, the group described itself as "a political party of Americans who want a strong military government to take control of the United States and put down the protesters, greeners and ultra-liberals."
In one post, Ives refers to Benito Mussolini, the Italian dictator and founder of that country’s National Fascist Party who ruled from 1922 to 1943, when he was overthrown.
"Mussolini spoke of the Bayonets of the New Dawn. This is our spirit, our calling. Not to necessarily see the victory, but to tirelessly light the path for the coming of the One," said a post attributed to Ives. "Stay with the Idea! Hail the wheel of Destiny!"
An image of Ives is also seen in a 2006 promotional video for the American Fascist Party, according to The Texas Tribune. In the image, he is sitting in front of what appears to be a Fascist Party logo, wearing what appears to be a black uniform with yellow shoulder patches.
Ives told the Tribune he didn't participate in the video's production, that the uniform was Photoshopped onto him and that the picture was used without his consent.
Ives told the Tribune he did agree to be the group’s "director of propaganda."
“I think I was the only one" who volunteered for the position, Ives told the Tribune. He called the fascist group "a chat room with a fancy title."
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Ives is a well-known Tea Party activist in Texas. He has hosted statewide rallies and has been a regular contributor on conservative radio station KSEV in Houston.
In his statement Tuesday, Ives criticized the Tribune article for its "lack of credible sources and background research."
"Many of you know me, have worked with me, and we have much yet to do. As for myself, I have nothing to hide in any of this matter. I hope that you, too, will stand with me," he said.
Ed Farris, treasurer of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, said it fully backed Ives.
"We stand with James. He is a decent man of honor," Farris said in an email to MSN News.
"He never supported any stupid fascist positions. HIs response details his motives at the time."
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