The European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO) was founded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, and is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“Beyond hosting a website, whitecivilrights.com, and staging an occasional conference, EURO is a paper tiger, serving primarily as a vehicle to publicize Duke’s writing and sell his books,” the SPLC states on its website.
An advisor for Rep. Scalise, Moira Bagley, said that the lawmaker was unaware of EURO’s ideology when he agreed to the speaking engagement. Others have anonymously told sources that Scalise, who was serving as a state representative at the time, was understaffed during his 2002 touring period.
According to the advisor, Scalise was making a case against slush funds that wasted tax payer money, and that he was speaking to any group that would listen.
Bagley stressed that Scalise has “spoken to hundreds of different groups,” and that “in every case, he was building support for his policies, not the other way around.”
The 48-year-old Louisiana Republican was elected to one of Capitol Hill’s highest positions earlier this year, replacing ousted representative Eric Cantor. He will be a direct link between House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The allegations originally surfaced through the website of Louisiana progressive activist, Lamar White Jr., which reported that posts had been found on Stormfront – a white nationalist and neo-Nazi forum – linking Scalise to the conference at the Landmark Best Western Hotel in Metairie, Louisiana.
While Scalise insists that he had no knowledge of EURO's affiliations, a source identifying himself as Alsace Hebert says Scalise was a highlight of the convention.
"It was just announced that Rep. Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson will enter the race in the 1st Congressional District. Those that attended the EURO conference in New Orleans will recall that Scalise was a speaker, offering his support for issues that are of concern to us," Hebert said. "I suppose if Duke does not make the election for whatever reason, this gentleman would be a good alternative."
The Stormfront posts also mention Scalise’s arguments about slush funds.
The conference was purportedly intended “to teach the most effective and up-to-date methods of civil rights and heritage related activism.”
The EURO conference was listed as one of the extremist events of the year by the Anti-Defamation League.