In December, IREHR sounded the alarm when we found that a white nationalist was scheduled to share the stage with members of Congress at the upcoming South Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention. Quietly, without comment or apology, the group scrubbed the white nationalist from their convention schedule.
Despite the removal of one white nationalist, the newly published convention agenda still contains a sizable cast of racists and bigots scheduled to share the stage with members of Congress and aspiring presidential candidates. Given who the organizers have invited to speak, this event has the potential to become even more racially explosive than last year’s tumultuous CPAC convention.
IREHR will explore several of these characters in the week leading up to the January 17-19 convention. We will also seek comment from South Carolina Tea Party Coalition leaders, elected officials, and other speakers regarding sharing a platform with these individuals.
First up: Jake MacAulay of the Institute on the Constitution.
One of the most glaring names on the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition convention is Jake MacAulay (aka Jake McMillian) the youthful, fast-talking, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC). Despite the innocuous sounding name, the IOTC is a theocratic, Christian nationalist outfit run by leaders in a white nationalist secessionist group.
Prior to joining the IOTC staff, MacAulay was at the core of the Annandale, Minnesota-based hard rock homophobic ministry, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide International. Through preaching, a radio program, and a travelling hard rock / rap band (think an even more homophobic, third-rate knock-off of Limp Bizkit), the group gained a loyal following.
The group brought a rough-edged, unvarnished brand of bigotry to younger audiences. As the Southern Poverty Law Center has noted, the group’s founder (and drummer), Bradlee Dean (who’s real name is Bradley Dean Smith) has argued that it is moral to execute LGBT people.. The Southern Poverty Law Center designated the organization as an anti-gay hate group in March 2012.
As the backwards ball cap wearing sidekick to the long-hair and tattooed Dean, MacAulay often joined in spewing hatred of gays and lesbians on stage and on their radio show. In one anti-gay diatribe, MacAulay outrageously claimed that "half of the murders in large cities were committed by homosexuals." At another appearance at an Iowa public school of the group’s hard rock / rap band, Junkyard Prophet, MacAulay created a stir when he told the students that that homosexuality “literally kills” gays. On their radio program, MacAulay even praised the notion of incarcerating homosexuals.
On their radio show, the Sons of Liberty, which broadcast in several states, Smith and MacAulay provided a platform to a wide swath of the far-right. Interviewees included: joe Farrah, the racist birther behind World Net Daily; Stewart Rhodes of the Oath Keepers; Islamophobic activist, Pamela Geller; Conspiracy theorist and radio personality Alex Jones; Christian nationalist pseudo-historian, David Barton, of Wall Builders; anti-gay activist, Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality; militia advocates like Sheriff Richard Mack and Larry Pratt of Gun Owners Of America; nativists like Kris Kobach; and many more.
Though the group gained the support of mainstream figures like Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, MacAulay and Smith also found themselves intertwined in what appears to be a tax evasion scheme, with one of one of the fringiest groups in the militia-wing of the far-right, the Oregon-based Christian Patriot group, Embassy of Heaven.
According to court documents obtained by the blog Ripple in Stillwater, in 2004, MacAulay and Smith attended classes by Glen Stoll, a Washington State-based tax-protestor who operated a phony business called Remedies at Law. Stoll is most widely known for briefly taking possession of the Florida creationist theme park, Dinosaur Adventure Land, while the owners were trying to evade local and federal court rulings.
MacAulay and Smith reportedly paid Stoll a $6500 fee to have all the group’s assets placed into “sham” trusts which Stoll promised would give them “absolute tax-exempt status,” eliminate all federal tax return filing requirements, and more. Stoll even assisted Smith ID cards from the “Embassy of Heaven Church” in Stayton, OR, which Stoll said helped people sever all ties to government and become “Citizens of Heaven.” By this time, the Embassy of Heaven already had a lengthy track-record of clashes with local law enforcement.
Even though the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint against Stoll and his enterprises seeking a permanent injunction to prohibit him from engaging in a whole host of illegal tax schemes in early 2005, Smith and MacAulay kept transferring assets to these trusts. It wasn’t until 2008 that they sought to legally break with Stoll.
After the news of Smith and MacAulay’s involvement with this tax evasion scheme, and the colossal failure of a defamation lawsuit Smith against the Rachel Maddow Show, the ministry started to collapse around them. MacAulay jumped ship, packing up his family and moving to Maryland in the fall of 2013 to work for the IOTC.
MacAulay’s relationship with the IOTC goes way back. As early as 2011, MacAulay was already an IOTC instructor, delivering IOTC classes for $240 through at the You Can Run But You Can’t Hide website.
Like his new boss, MacAulay has expressed Christian nationalist theocratic notions. In 2011, On the Jake McMillian Blog, MacAulay posed the question to himself, “Do you think our government should be a theocracy?” His answer: “American Government should absolutely rule by the moral standards of the Judeo-Christian God and thus, it will be a protection for those who walk in obedience to His Law.” In 2014, on the IOTC website he posited that belief in God is required to hold office in the United States. “So this constitutional requirement that an office holder must believe in God is a logical and consistent protection against those who might drive our constitutional republic in a bad direction. This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry. It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.”
In addition to theocratic and anti-LGBT comments, MacAulay has waded into issues around race. In a recent post about the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of unarmed black teen, MacAulay extended his theocratic thinking to argue the Martin Luther King Jr. “would NOT be standing with these ‘civil rights’ imposters” because “Dr. King was not a champion of ‘civil’ rights. He was a champion of God-given rights.”
MacAulay’s article is riddled with errors of fact. For starters, King was from Atlanta, not Montgomery. Among the “civil rights imposters” MacAulay listed was Jesse Jackson, an aide to Dr. King who was at King’s side when he was assassinated in 1968. Dr. King was a tireless champion of civil rights, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which he hailed upon passage. On July 2, 1964, King was on hand when President Johnson signed the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. MacAulay is trying to distort Dr. King’s legacy to fit his theocratic worldview.
To claim that Dr. King would not have been involved in demonstrating against the killings of young black men by police demonstrates, at minimum, a profound misunderstanding of Dr. King, his message, and the movement he helped lead.
The incident is even more disturbing given that his new co-workers have a history of involvement with a white nationalist secessionist group.
The Institute on the Constitution (IOTC)
ITOC co-founder Michael Peroutka (left) with Jake MacAulay (right) and Elkhart, IN Sheriff Brad Rogers (Source: IOTC Facebook Page)
The benignly-named Institute on the Constitution was formed in Maryland by Michael Peroutka, with the help of his brother and law partner, Stephen, and his pastor and business partner, David Whitney, along with a handful of others. The group is “sponsored” by and shares an address with Peroutka and Peroutka, the debt-collection firm Michael runs with his brother.
The website of the IOTC, “The American View,” declares that “’The American View’ of government is that there is a God, the God of the Bible, our rights come from Him, and the purpose of civil government is to secure our rights.” How far the group wants to go with that interpretation is hinted at elsewhere on the IOTC website. Among the many items of a disturbingly theocratic bent, readers will find a 1956 article defending discrimination, which argues that, "Whereas liberty is a prerequisite to happiness, the unrestricted right to discriminate is in turn a prerequisite to liberty," and adds, "We see no reason why men should not discriminate on grounds of religion, race, or nationality, if they wish."
Until news of his involvement became an issue during his (successful) race for the Anne Arundel County Council, Peroutka, a 62-year old attorney, was a board member of the white nationalist secessionist group, the League of the South. Peroutka has denounced the Union’s victory in what he calls the “War Between the States,” and pledged to use the Institute on the Constitution to aid the League of the South and advance the cause of imposing biblical law. Peroutka even led the League of the South convention in singing what he called the “national anthem” – “Dixie.”
Beyond arguing that the wrong side won the Civil War, the League of the South president, Michael Hill, has made a clear declaration of white nationalism, arguing that "EuropeanAmerican whites" possess a "Godordained superiority of their own civilization," while "blacks have never created anything approximating a civilization." He also contended that “Because Christian liberty has been the product of Western civilization, should the white stock of Europe and American disappear through racial amalgamation or outright genocide, then both liberty and civilization as we have come to know them will cease to exist.”
To drive the point home, after Senator Rand Paul reluctantly fired his new media director, Jack Hunter, when his membership in the League of the South was exposed, Hill issued a statement declaring, "Just so there’s no chance that you’ll confuse The League with the GOP or any other ‘conservative’ group, here’s what we stand for: The survival, well-being, and independence of the Southern people. And by ‘the Southern people,’ we mean White Southerners who are not afraid to stand for the people of their race and region."
At a March 2014 anti-immigrant rally organized by the League of the South in Tallahassee, Florida, Hill again made his racism abundantly clear when he told a reporter, “I’m standing up for my people – white Southern people – no one else."
Moreover, Hill has openly fantasized about creating their own three- to five-man death squads. The squads’ "primary targets will not be enemy soldiers; instead, they will be political leaders, members of the hostile media, cultural icons, bureaucrats, and other of the managerial elite."
In South Carolina, where the Tea Party convention is taking place, the League of the South is led by Michael Cushman, a neo-Nazi who used to be a member of the National Alliance.
When asked about the racism of the League of the South by the Baltimore Sun back in 2012, Peroutka responded that he "continues to be a proud member of the League of the South." He added that the white supremacist label is "absurd" and "not at all true." Peroutka told the Sun back then that, "The League of the South has a belief that the central government is too large, too spend-thrift and too out-of-control."
Despite the overwhelming evidence of the League’s white nationalism, and after being informed about the white nationalism of the group, Peroutka remained a member of the organization and a member of the League of the South board of directors for more than two more years.
In October 2014, after being repeatedly asked about his League of the South ties on the campaign trail, Peroutka told the Baltimore Sun that he was no longer a member of the group. But he refused to elaborate on why he left the group. “I didn’t do it to bring up any political points,” Peroutka said.
Peroutka did, however, make it clear that he didn’t leave the group because he was opposed to their white nationalism. “I don’t have any problem with the organization,” he added.
Despite Peroutka’s alleged abandonment of the group in October, Hill took to the League of the South Facebook page to congratulate Peroutka “for forging ahead, despite the criticism, and winning this election.” Hill added that Peroutka “has been a friend and supporter of The League for many years.”
Despite the controversy around the IOTC’s ties to a white nationalist organization, one of the other IOTC co-founders has refused to break from the League of the South. IOTC co-founder and “Senior Instructor” David Whitney remains listed as the Chaplain of the Maryland chapter of the League of the South. 
Whitney’s take on the Civil War, “In essence, the Southern states, the 13 states that did secede, had a Constitutional right, a legal right, and indeed a Biblical right to do what they did seceding from the Union. And the 16th tyrannical president, he had no right to do what he did, attacking and invading, and killing oh, it wound up being over six hundred thousand American boys, all unnecessarily in Mr. Lincoln’s war.“ 
Addressing more contemporary issues, Whitney voiced support for Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpiao’s racist “cold case” birther posse. He claims a Constitutional mandate for militias and argued that opponents of militias are the enemies of God. He’s even demanded that militias should be used to remove Obama if he will not voluntarily remove himself. He also spoke at a “Sheriff and Citizen Summit” where the Posse Comitatus was promoted. 
In February 2014, Whitney put his Christian nationalism on display when he preached a sermon calling for citizenship — including the rights to vote, run for office, serve in a jury, or serve in a militia — to be restricted to Christians.
Beyond MacAulay, Peroutka, and Whitney, the group has also involved other controversial figures. Several of the main IOTC training kits and hosting packages are written and performed on video by John Eidsmoe, an Alabama leader in the far-right National Center for Constitutional Studies. In 2005, Eidsmoe spoke at the national convention of the Council of Conservative Citizens, the white nationalist group directly descended from the old white Citizens Councils which fought to maintain segregation in the South.
In Alabama in 2010, Eidsmoe addressed an event commemorating Secession Day and told an interviewer that it was the state’s “constitutional right to secede,” and that “Jefferson Davis and John C. Calhoun understood the Constitution better than did Abraham Lincoln and Daniel Webster.”
The IOTC materials also include lectures by Christian nationalist pseudo-historian David Barton.
Given that in his short career, Jake MacAulay helped lead one anti-gay hate group, has promoted numerous far-right figures, and now works for a theocratic outfit run by leaders of a white nationalist secession group, it will be interesting to see how the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition responds. They had little trouble in removing Council of Conservative Citizens leader Roan Quintana-Garcia from the lineup when his involvement surfaced last month. It will also be interesting to see how the Congressmen, Senators, aspiring presidential candidates, and others feel about sharing the stage with MacAulay.
Of course, Garcia-Quintana and MacAulay aren’t the only problematic characters on the Tea Party convention agenda. Tomorrow we’ll look at an activist who travels the country doing trainings based on a book that calls blacks “pickaninnies” and argues that slavery wasn’t really all that bad.