Tag Archives: Jim Gilchrist

CA-04 McClintock and the Minutemen, re the KKK Konnection

( Didn’t really want to write this, but since the comment to the story about  McClintock’s KKK endorsement kept expanding, it gets its own diary.   I noticed some skepticism towards this topic at dailykos, and since I had a lot of background material already available,  it is relevant. )

This “endorsement”  would explain why one of McClintock’s supporters keeps on using


Hall of Shame

This was in the local paper 9/21/08.  It’s from a McClintock supporter who posts blogs or comments on a daily basis.  Most of his stuff I won’t repeat because it’s too inflammatory. I just try to tell people that these wedge issues are being used to do internet fundraising targeting senior citizens based on a fear of minorities, and that provoking these fears is wrong.  

Regarding the above screenshot of a blog post in my local paper, I know who this is,  and I know he’s a long time financial supporter of both the Republican incumbent and the imported Southern California Republican challenger. (and I found a write up about him on a Christian website, which was not… complimentary. He has a long history of this sort of activity, which other people do not think is charitable towards others )  I’ve posted this image on dailykos before, when he first put it up. It’s following a theme they started when McClintock and Dan Logue decided to do that “Minutemen” “Secure the Borders”  tour this spring up in the northern part of the district, during the Republican Primary.




March 4, 2008.  left to right, Dan Logue, Eric Egland, Tom McClintock, Sue Horn, as McClintock announces he’s running for Congress.

Dan Logue, state assembly candidate, appeared with McClintock on the “Secure the Borders” tour with the Minutemen group in May,  and his state Cal- access campaign money records for this cycle shows he paid the group that did the tour, “Secured Borders Consulting, Inc” and Jim Gilchrist.


Eric Egland is a former CA- 04 candidate, a Fox News spokesperson, has served as President Bush’s spokesperson on mideast trips, has donated thousands of dollars to McClintock’s campaign, and has worked with MAF, which created the swiftboating ads currently being used against Democratic candidate Charlie Brown.   Sue Horn is former state assembly candidate whose husband works in the building/real estate developer business.

 Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen Project, endorsed McClintock.  The other Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (the founders split into 2 groups) which uses a cleaned up Chris Simcox as its spokesperson and consultant, appeared in Nevada City with McClintock on May 7th. Simcox also endorsed McClintock.  This is what bothered me so much when I saw the flags and other war (Minutemen and the US- Mexican 1847 ) insignia on the parade float the Republicans used during the 4th of July Parade in Lincoln this year.

Links about Jim Gilchrist:

 Jim Gilchrist, the founder of the Minutemen Project, endorsed McClintock:


Gilchrist’s Minuteman homepage:


Gilchrist’s myspace page                           http://profile.myspace.com/ind…

Links, Chris Simcox, other Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, tours with Logue and McClintock  http://www.redcounty.com/place…

Simcox’s MCDC page:   http://www.minutemanhq.com/hq/

Simcox has troubled past:  http://www.splcenter.org/news/…

Simcox and various political financial scandals:  Minuteman money mystery, 2006 article by Bill Berkowitz of Media Transparency  (very good Simcox link below)


Both Minutemen groups are associated with white supremist groups, such as the Council of Concerned Citizens, altho both deny it.  The CCC has changed its name to the CCIR.   http://www.ccir.net/

Basic information on the CCIR: http://www.splcenter.org/intel…

Some older backstory on the CCC link:  http://www.adl.org/MWD/ccc.asp

The CCC is so secretive they will not publish a membership list and require referrals before they will send you information on their organization.

These racist organizations are NOT dead, they are alive. They peaked in popularity during the first term of the Bush administration, waned, and now with the uncertain economic fallout, they are regaining some steam.  Barbara Coe, a member of the CCC, has been heavily involved recently in Minutemen border events in Southern California this summer, making appearances with  politicians running for office. Coe is also a member of the CCIR, the CA Coalition for Immigration Reform.

The Orcinus blog did a very good write up of the history of the Minutemen groups and their split, and how they front for political consultants, on June 28, 2006.  http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2…

The Rift in the Minutemen

The Subway Canaries blog (now thepinkflamingo.org)  did a write up of this relationship between the KKK and Immigration and the Minutemen groups in October, 2006, with a lot of links:


The Southern Poverty Law Center said in 2002, that most of the anti immigration “movement” is the result of work by John H Tanton, who founded, served on the boards, and funded many of them.  http://www.splcenter.org/intel…

If you are going to read just one link in my post, read this one from the Southern Poverty Law Center, from summer 2002  Note the remarks from Brian Bilbray, who was to run again in 2006 in the San Diego area and narrowly win election to the current Congress.   The article says that this network of anti immigration groups is not so much grassroots as astroturfing being done by John Tanton and Numbers USA.   Richard Mellon Scaife family foundations has been funding these groups, along with the McConnell Foundation, the Shea Foundation, the Weeden, Salisbury, Smith Richardson, Blair, and Sikes foundations.

4 page story





“The Puppeteer

The organized anti-immigration ‘movement,’ increasingly in bed with racist hate groups, is dominated by one man, John Tanton.”

The meeting with Tancredo and Bilbray  – and the entire lobbying operation in mid-February – was masterminded by NumbersUSA, an anti-immigration group that had recently opened a “government relations office” in a three-story, red-brick Victorian near the Capitol.

NumbersUSA hosted an afternoon open house at its plush new digs, where the lobbyists relaxed, nibbled on catered food, and conversed with the leaders and other officials of key anti-immigration organizations.

Patrick McHugh of the Washington-based Center for Immigration Studies, which purports to be a squeaky clean think tank that rejects racism, was there pressing the flesh along with Barbara Coe, head of the California Coalition for Immigration Reform, who repeatedly referred to Mexicans – as she has for years – as “savages.”

The Citizens Informer, a white supremacist tabloid put out by the Council of Conservative Citizens ( CCC ) hate group, was available.  

Here is another overview with links of the Minutemen, from an Australian site:


The interesting thing about THIS site is that it mentions Minuteman Bryan Barton and the 2005 T- shirt incident.

T-shirt incident

On April 6, 2005, three Minuteman Project volunteers convinced a 25-year-old illegal immigrant to hold a T-shirt and pose for a photograph and a video with one of the volunteers. The T-shirt, which was also worn by volunteer Bryan Barton, read “Bryan Barton caught me crossing the border and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”.

Bryan Barton (link to one of his spoof sites   http://www.votebarton.com/abou…   ) claims to have a journalism certificate from the same school that graduated White House pool “Reporter”  Jeff Gannon, the right wing “Leadership Institute. ”   Bryan Barton has a large body of past work available for viewing on the internet, some of which has content not suitable for family viewing, containing images that are disturbing in content, meant to defame individuals based on their race, sex, or religious creeds, or depicting scenes of past activities of the Bush administration which were inflammatory or disgusting from a human rights content. He claims it’s humor.  It’s not.  It’s porn.

Tom McClintock, last month,  used the same Bryan Barton as a spokesperson for the follow up Swiftboat “hanging effigy”  advertisement they recorded in front of Charlie Brown’s Campaign office building, whereby Byran Barton asked supposed passerby to look at pictures taken in 2005 at that anti war rally counterdemonstration,  and asked them if a blurry picture of a man wearing a camo jacket over a tee shirt and jeans was the same as a man standing there in full military uniform. It was called “Charlie Brown Uniform Shuffle.”  Link from McClintock’s campaign site:


So I’m looking at this advertisement posted on McClintock’s front page of his campaign website for several days, knowing that “Bryan Barton of the Minutemen” is this paid Republican operative now working for McClintock, and I am waiting for somebody else to make the connection. Oh well.  Here goes.  One of McClintock’s largest local donators, Fred Sacher, is involved with this Republican “journalism” school that has now given us both Jeff Gannon (of the Valerie Plame – Scooter Libby outing coverup ruse)  and Bryan Barton.   link to page which has clickable pdfs of the Leadership Institute’s financial 990’s that can be studied  http://www.leadershipinstitute…

I guess we’ve just hit the Big Time here in Northern California. Back to the KKK ~~~    

Here’s a link page from a KKK member which is very interesting if you study his site  http://kelticklankirk.com/amer…

Note the Minute Men symbolism used at the top of the page, see the various link names to these extremist groups with it or derivatives of it. The Minute Men symbol is also used by a lot of these white supremist organizations.

Warning. The home page on that KKK site manages to offend every thing. I found the co – opting and perversion of “Celtic” belief particularly vile and wish to state that Irish, Christian, Celt and Pagan ? does not equal Klan, and the use of these Celtic art symbols in this context, which have their own meanings, is really bizarre.  http://kelticklankirk.com/




McClintock’s float, the 4th of July parade in Lincoln, CA.  Flags, Republican GOP, CA state Bear Flag, American Flag, “Christian” Flag.  

The Christian Flag, the white one on the right hand side seen above, with the blue corner and red cross, is also used by the KKK in some parts of the country. Click here and scroll down to near the bottom to see an example:    http://www.kelticklankirk.com/…                   Another flag similiar to it, a pure white flag with a small confederate canton and cross in the corner is also used.  Click here for an example  http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/roadsh…            Notice how the Christian flag is flying same level with the other flags on this float.   The CA Bear Flag is also used by Save Our State, another white supremist group.  http://saveourstate.org/index.php     That combined with the heavy symbolism of the Mexican – US War of 1846- 47 and Minutemen symbolism on the parade float (most people did not know what they were looking at, but the few who did, it provoked quite a visceral response  )  really gave me a completely different outlook on the McClintock candidacy.   Whoever put this together wanted it to be provocative and stir up certain feelings of pitting one group against another, based on race and ancestral nationality.

The City of Lincoln, before it underwent the explosive population growth in the past decade with the population nearly quadrupling,  when the Del Webb retirement subdivisions went in, was more racially diverse and more laid – back and had a larger number of Latino Americans by percentage.

The Mexican American War ended up disenfranchising hundreds of Mexican citizens and Native Americans which were living in the southwestern  territory that the United States ended up with, because they did not get legal citizenship as was originally implied by the preliminary treaty, which the Senate then modified afterwards.   There was a lot of LDS symbolism on that float, such as the Wagon Wheel,  that also commemorated the Mormon Battalion, which marched across country from the midwest all the way to the California Coast during the same war.  The territorial gain by the United States was seen as another example of the righteousness of the theory of Manifest Destiny. The distinctive officer’s uniform on one of the soldier figurines on the float was very similar to what would have been worn by General Winfield Scott, a famous general in that war.  General Scott has another role in history, when in 1838 he also moved the Cherokee from their original homeland in Georgia to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears. Before the move started, 4 thousand Cherokee would die in confinement.    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W…

Scott arrived at New Echota, Cherokee Nation on April 6, 1838, and immediately divided the Nation into three military districts. Within two weeks he had every Cherokee in North Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama who could not escape to be captured or killed. The Cherokee were rounded up and held in rat-infested stockades with little food. Private John G. Burnett later wrote, “Future generations will read and condemn the act and I do hope posterity will remember that private soldiers like myself, and like the four Cherokees who were forced by General Scott to shoot an Indian Chief and his children, had to execute the orders of our superiors. We had no choice in the matter.”[3][4]  

So …. that was a very complex parade float.  

Here’s another detail from that 4th of July parade float:


Detail, McClintock’s 4th of July parade float, Lincoln CA.  Minutemen plaque behind L M’s shoulder.

Here’s the whole float from a distance, I posted this pic before in another diary:


July 4 McClintock parade float

And if the casual viewer couldn’t “get” the point that day in Lincoln, they had another person on a lawn tractor towing a big fiberglass trio of Minute Men figurines behind the parade float carrying the McClintocks.  

I have also seen blatantly racist material at another Republican booth at a district public event,  and in the window display of a district Republican headquarters building with both McClintock and John McCain signs in it.  Once, it could be an anomaly.  Repeatedly seeing it over and over again, it becomes a theme.   The question became, for me personally, should I address this issue and let it distract from the real campaign issues, or should I just follow the money trails and see where the McClintock supporters are going with this, and will it bring them national level support?

Then, when Republican John McCain picked Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, and I started seeing a lot of graphics of Palin with her high powered rifle, peering thru the scope, juxtaposed with pictures of our candidate Barack Obama, with the caption “She’s a Better Shot than Cheney,” I knew where the Republicans were going to take their campaign.  

Damn, I’m old enough to remember the 1960’s.  Why are they deliberately doing this?  Why is one of McClintock’s local supporters repeatedly using a hanging effigy theme?

Just like in the July parade, Tom McClintock wanted to be provocative when he stood there on the State Capitol steps early last month (Sept 2) during the “Minutemen” rally and called for the Federal government to cut off funding for San Francisco. And for the Federal government to deport millions of people.  There was a giant sign parked down on the road which says “Build the Wall, Deport them All,” the loudspeakers are playing some sort of dreadful screed about how people of Native American Indigenous ancestry have to perform a blood sacrifice when they reach adulthood, and are secretly plotting to turn California and the American southwest back into the Aztec state, “Aztlan” (this is the same stuff I’ve seen on the Council of Concerned Citizens site )  and then the group of teenaged kids in white dress shirts and dress pants and some sort of red satin sashes show up with the big “Save Traditonal Marriage” Sign on the sidewalk.  They hopped in a van and drove off when they realized they were being recorded for posterity.  

It was pretty surrealistic.

Just another day at the California State Capitol, campaign 2008, McClintock version.

Here are 2 images from the Republican Booth at the Gold Country Fair in Auburn the first week in September on Saturday the 7th.

The first one shows the Christian flag flying over the booth just to the left of McClintock’s name.  The second is the closeup of one of the bumper stickers they had for sale, to the left of the man in the striped shirt. “Liberalism, the imaginary distance between church and state.”





My ancestors are doing so many flips in their graves that this is what passes for political fodder in 2008 California,  I half expect an earthquake.  

I see there is some skepticism about the link between McClintock and these extremist groups concerning a “guilt by association” of an old endorsement by the KKK.  Some people do not think this is relevant, others think it a distraction.   So I’m posting my observations on this relationship, reluctantly, because I don’t want to give Karl Rove the satisfaction of driving the dialogue here . But this subtext of forced removals of the “others,” based on their supposed cultural inferiority,  as being justified by a Higher Power, and therefore the Republican candidate is the “Right One”  has been running all thru McClintock’s campaign for CA- 04.  

Mercifully,  I see a lot of people in this district are finally starting to reject the use of these wedge issues.   I would hope the national level Republican campaign, based on what I’m seeing at McCain’s events, could come to grips with the fear issues and stop trying to scare people into voting for them.

But I also want to emphasize that we here in the district not imagining things when we say we see a relationship between the creed of the KKK and the campaign theme being used by McClintock.   This side of the aisle is rejecting the use of fear to divide us and ostracize us from each other.  

Tonight’s Wild and Wonderful Open Thread

Hi, everyone! I hope you had a good time chatting today. Well, it’s that time again when the sun comes down and the open thread starts up. So what’s on your mind tonight? What are you thinking about right now?

Tonight, I’m thinking about this Total Buzz piece about even MORE Minutemen follies. Remember the Minutemen? Yes, that racist group that’s falling apart! Well, it turns out that not only the Minutemen Project headed by Aliso Viejo man Jim Gilchrist is undergoing internal turmoil, but so is the Minutemen Civil Defense Corps. Remember them? They’re the original Arizona group that split from the original Minutemen project. Who knew that all these crazed egos can take down such a committed group of crazy xenophobes?

Sorry, but I just had to share that hilarious anecdote with you while I’m on my way to Drinking Liberally in Rancho Santa Margarita. Hey look, I can see my house all the way from here at the edge of the world on the 241 Toll Road! So what hilarious anecdote would you like to share with me? What good news clipping or wild viral video do you want to post tonight? What other blog story are you still reading?

Go ahead. Make my day. Fire away! : )

Judge Denies Gilchrist Request to Retake Minutemen

Oh my! I just noticed this on Total Buzz:

Attorney Jim Lacy rang to report that Judge Randell Wilkinson has turned down Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist‘s request to have three more months before the court will consider putting the organization into the hands of a third-party receivership.

Ah, so Mr. Minuteman Gilchrist can’t reclaim the group that he created… And caused havoc upon. Now why don’t I fell sorry for him? Oh yeah, this is why. Yes, I kinda sense poetic justice here.

Minuteman With No Head!

Oh, my! As soon as I picked up my OC Register, I suddenly found this:

A Superior Court judge on Thursday rejected Minuteman Project founder Jim Gilchrist’s request to be immediately returned sole control of the anti-illegal immigration group – a ruling that leaves the organization immobilized.

Judge Randell Wilkinson also placed restrictions on the three directors tussling with Gilchrist, noting in his order that there were “serious issues concerning the credibility of the claims of both Jim Gilchrist and the defendants…”

Oh, my! What can I say about this? Well, perhaps I’ll say more after the flip…

OK, so what again caused this? (From OC Register)

Gilchrist was ousted from the group in January by the vote of the three directors, who said they were concerned with sloppy accounting and possible fundraising improprieties. The three then took control of the organization’s primary bank account and, at least temporarily, the group’s main Web site.

However, Jim Gilchrist is saying that these three “hijacked” the group. Oh yeah, and Gilchrist is “under attack by internal terrorists“(??!!). Remember, according to Gilchrist, these three “directors” were only serving “advisory roles”, and that only HE had real power over the group.

So what will now happen to the organization? Nothing, since no one is really in control.

Wilkinson did grant two Gilchrist requests: The mutinying directors – Barbara Coe, Melvin Stewart and Deborah Ann Courtney – cannot spend donations to the group and they cannot use stationery with Gilchrist’s printed signature.

But the lawyer for the defendants said he was pleased with the ruling.

“It’s 85 percent of what we wanted,” attorney Jim Lacy said. “The best interim remedy, if my clients aren’t going to have total control, is that the organization will remain neutral.”

And the best permanent remedy, in my humble opinion, is that THIS VIGILANTE RACIST GROUP DIES OF IMMOBILITY! Jim Gilchrist, Barbara Coe, and the rest of the Minuteman group all need to go away and stop harassing all brown people. And you know what? If all this infighting among the Minutemen prevents them from harassing any more Latinos, then the infighting is serving a great purpose.

So what will happen next to the Minutemen?

Wilkinson also called for an April 25 hearing, at which Gilchrist will have to convince the judge that the Minuteman Project should not be handed over to a third-party receivership until a trial is completed. Lacy said his clients would support a receivership.

Well, I’m still hoping that the legal action doesn’t end. So long as the Minuteman Follies continue, they can’t do any more destructive deeds. Let them fight themselves… That way, these undocumented workers have one fewer thing to worry about.

Minuteman Follies!

The power struggle “has absolutely stalled the movement from coast to coast,” Gilchrist said.

That is, Jim Gilchrist said it to an Orange County judge as he sues to retake sole control over Minuteman, Inc. So what exactly happened in court yesterday? Follow me after the flip for more…

From The OC Register:

An effort by Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist to regain authority over the group Wednesday prompted a Superior Court judge to encourage the bickering sides to work out their differences.

But Gilchrist called the differences among the leaders of the illegal-immigration opponent group “irreconcilable.” Judge Randell Wilkinson is expected to rule within a week on whether control should be returned to the Aliso Viejo resident until a full trial takes place later this year. He also indicated the possibility of placing the group in a neutral receivership until that time.

So what has this racist, anti-immigrant “movement” been stalled over? Oh, that’s right- Gilchrist thinks he’s the sole member of The Minuteman Project’s board of directors, and that the other three directors were simply “advisors” with no real decision-making power.

So what do the other “directors” think about Gilchrist and his claims of sole control over Minuteman, Inc.? The Register has more:

The three directors being sued by Gilchrist said they tried unsuccessfully to get him to address concerns in December, and after his removal still tried to make the peace with him.

“I pleaded with him,” said one director, Huntington Beach’s Barbara Coe, founder of the long-standing California Coalition for Immigration Reform.

The three directors said they were still open to reaching an agreement with Gilchrist. But he made it clear such a deal wasn’t going to happen, especially since a lawyer for the three has contacted two federal agencies to alert them to possible wrongdoing.

Yes, you heard it right… The Wicked Witch of the West pleaded with him! It’s just too bad that all those secret bank accounts, missing funds, sloppy accounting, and donations that had been collected without the full board’s knowledge got in the way. And oh yeah, I’m sure that the bounced checks didn’t help either.

The judge is expected to rule within a week on whether Gilchrist can retake sole control over Minuteman, Inc. However, I just have a strange feeling that this trial won’t quite end the feud. Can anyone say, “APPEAL“? Still, this would be so sad… If it weren’t so DAMN HILARIOUS that these gawd awful racists are destroying their own empire of hate! So who’s getting the last laugh now?

hehe ; )

A Minuteman on THE Minuteman: Simcox on Gilchrist

(O)ut of nowhere, (Gilchrist) decided to run for Congress. That was good because it gave him something to focus on and, frankly, it fed his desire for media attention. … (and) I wanted him to win that seat in Congress.

I packed up my family and lived in OC for 42 days helping him right the ship of the campaign after it imploded. People were fired and quit. The campaign was in shambles, and I was asked to come in and help organize and right the ship.

Have you heard the big news? The Minuteman Project is falling apart. So when did it start, and why did it happen? Former Gilchrist friend Chris Simcox emailed OC Register political reporter Martin Wisckol about it, and Wisckol posted the entire email at Total Buzz. So was the 2005 Special Congressional Election really the beginning of the end?

It was sad to watch – [Deborah Ann] Courtney and [Stephen] Eichler were already conspiring on how to re-launch the MMP (Minuteman Project) with Jim as the sole founder (Simcox says he was co-founder). They knew he was going to lose the race and were preparing for the future. Many times they commented on how the MMP could bring in millions and they could help Jim build an empire.

Naranja News: Today’s Wild and Wonderful OC News Bulletin

Here are some wild and wonderful stories from behind The Orange Curtain that you just have to see to believe:

Irvine protesters hold out hope for peace. There may have been only 80 antiwar activists holding their candles for peace last night, but they certainly made an impact. Martin Wisckol has more in today’s Register.

Gilchrist makes peace with former foe to fight new foes. Apparently, Mr. Minuteman has now hired a former GOP candidate in the 2005 Special Election as his attorney as he battles his former allies in court to retake control of Minuteman Project, Inc. Martin Wisckol also has more on this story in today’s Register.

How have the Vietnamese-Americans assimilated… Or have they? That’s been a question that all of us behind The Orange Curtain have asked since the special election debacle began to unfold last month. Guest bloggers Ralph E. Shaffer and Walter P. Coombs have some interesting answers at The Liberal OC. And finally…

Crazy Dana caught on video! He spoke out against the imprisonment of the two Border Patrol agents on Saturday… And he did it just before going surfing. Joe Shaw has the full video at Orange Juice.

Weeding Out the Undocumented: Whither the Minutemen?

First, it was the Costa Mesa City Council taking federal law into their own hands by voting to deputize police officers as immigration agents…
And now, much of the nation is following. First it was just the Minuteman Project, but now it has become a giant monster.

So what is it about these anti-immigration measures taking off in Orange County, and spreading throughout the rest of California, and being copied elsewhere in the nation? As a native Orange County resident, I live in the middle of all of this…
And I want to examine the issues surrounding local governments enforcing immigration law. Today, we begin in Huntington Beach, where anti-immigrant hatemonger Barbara Coe had worked for over 10 years to bring more “awareness” to the issue of all those “Mexicans invading our border as part of a reconquista for Mexico to retake the Southwest”. She tried, and she tried, and she tried to “raise awareness”, but all she got was a failed initiative that was thrown out of court, and snark from OC Weekly to go with it…
That is, until… (Follow me after the flip for it…)

Jim Gilchrist took his “Minutemen” on a little trip to the Mexican border. Martin Wisckol, of The OC Register, has more:

It was a match made in activist heaven.

Huntington Beach’s Barbara Coe had toiled for more than a decade against illegal immigration, becoming the gritty grande dame of the movement. Just as progress was sputtering, along came Aliso Viejo’s Jim Gilchrist and his two-week Minuteman citizen border surveillance.

The April 2005 event along a desolate stretch of the Arizona-Mexico border attracted 880 volunteers and thrust the issue back into the national spotlight. It revitalized the movement and, with Gilchrist, gave it a public face.

Coe and her California Coalition for Immigration Reform found an instant partner in the high-profile upstart. The public debate suddenly included President Bush, who called the Minutemen “vigilantes,” and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who praised the border watchers. While still facing an uphill battle, activists saw support swell by the day.

And all of a sudden, immigration became a hot topic again. People started talking about the “illegal aliens” and how much havoc they wreak on our community. People began blaming “illegal aliens” for every problem facing the California and the nation, from the growing health care crisis, to the overcrowded schools, to the out-of-control crime in all the major cities “plagued by all those illegal aliens”. And thanks to the Minutemen, people started paying attention to far-right xenophobes like Barbara Coe once again.

Barbara Coe, along with other anti-immigrant activists, soon joined forces with Gilchrist, and they all formed a “Board of Directors” to run the Minuteman Project. This came just after Gilchrist’s better than expected third place finish in the race to fill Chris Cox’s vacated 48th Congressional District seat in December 2005. Everything seemed to be looking up for Gilchrist, the Minutemen, and the whole anti-immigrant movement… Until…

(From OC Register)

Internal conflicts began surfacing late last year. Gilchrist bounced a series of checks in December. Minuteman Project Director Deborah Ann Courtney came across a newspaper article about a nonprofit group associated with the Minuteman Project being fined for fundraising violations. Other fiscal issues arose.

(From LA Times)

By the fall of 2006, the relationship between Gilchrist and his board began to deteriorate quickly.

There were public accusations of secret bank accounts, missing funds, sloppy accounting and donations that had been collected without the full board’s knowledge. None of the claims were made in court and proof wasn’t offered. But the seriousness of the charges drove the former allies further apart.

Coe, Stewart and Courtney said in interviews with The Times that they finally concluded that there was as much as $750,000 missing from Minuteman accounts. They said they filed a theft report with the FBI and asked for an investigation.

So what went wrong? Apparently, sloppy accounting from the professional accountant. “Fundraising improprieties”, possible Postal Service violations, and IRS worries began to haunt the organization. And all of a sudden, the organization that made the “immigration crisis” into a national issue was itself falling into complete crisis mode.

And then, everything fell apart early this year. (From LA Times)

Minuteman Project co-founder Jim Gilchrist was confronted by three associates who had been his closest allies when he arrived at his group’s headquarters in Lake Forest in late January.

“Jim,” said Marvin Stewart, “the board has terminated you as president.”

Gilchrist recalled that it felt like his heart sank to his stomach, prompting him to instinctively yell, “You’re all fired.”

“No, Jim, you are fired,” Stewart said.

Now, everything is in shambles. Gilchrist accuses Marvin Stewart, Deborah Courtney, and Barbara Coe of internal terrorism for “hijacking” his organization. Barbara Coe, on the other hand, still considers Gilchrist to be a “courageous patriot”, though she does feel that he was “deceived” and “misled”, and “‘used’ by some others for THEIR personal gain“. Meanwhile, Stewart and Courtney are claiming to put an end to the “profit[ing] from an effort to secure America’s borders” as they take over the group.

But still, Courtney and Stewart’s grip on Minutemen, Inc. is quite tenuous. On March 21, an OC Superior Court judge will hear Gilchrist’s case as he sues to retake control of the group that he founded. But whatever happens in court, all seem to agree that “the movement” has lost its way, and that it will be quite difficult for the Minutemen to regain its footing, along with its past glory.