Kyle Magin
Staff Writer

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July 22, 2010
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Meckler: No place for racism in Tea Party

Mark Meckler, a Chicago Park attorney and national co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, distanced the group from racist elements of the tea party movement this week.

Tea Party groups protest large government and excessive taxation.

In a stop this week in Washington, D.C., Meckler denounced Mark Williams, the spokesman for a group called the Tea Party Express that recently posted a racially charged satirical letter from "colored people" to President Abraham Lincoln on a blog. Williams is a former conservative radio talk show host.

"The guy is a horrible, vile, despicable racist," Meckler said. "This guy is not supported by us."

Meckler started to distance himself and the 2,300 chapter, 18 million member Tea Party Patriots from Williams and the Tea Party Express, a political fundraising organization, in the spring of 2009 after the two appeared at an event together and Williams verbally attacked a group of police officers, Meckler said.

Williams, though, again appeared alongside Meckler at a Saturday, June 6, 2009 Nevada County Tea Party rally organized by Meckler's father, Stan. The county Tea Party conducted the event at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Williams was an emcee at the event and Meckler spoke at it, according to reports in The Union.

"I'm not personally involved in the Nevada County Tea Party or with the people who attend their events," Meckler said. He deals with Tea Party issues on a national level, he added.

The hoopla surrounding Williams and the Tea Party Express' expulsion from the National Tea Party Federation served as an excellent talking point to get the Tea Party's message on race out in the open, Meckler said.

"It was a great speaking opportunity for us," Meckler said. "We disassociated ourselves from (the Tea Party Express and Tea Party Federation) a long time ago."

The Tea Party Patriots don't associate with racists, Meckler said.

"Guys like him don't deserve to be allowed in the company of decent human beings," Meckler said. "It's the obligation of the rest of us to separate ourselves from people like that."

The federation, which bills itself as a coalition of tea party groups, expelled the Tea Party Express earlier this week for Williams' comments.

The group shouldn't have associated itself with Williams and his group in the first place and does not speak for the Tea Party Patriots, Meckler said.

"We warned them about this guy early on," Meckler said.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call (530) 477-4239.

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The Union Updated Jul 22, 2010 11:51PM Published Jul 22, 2010 11:50PM Copyright 2010 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.