MinuteMan Project Separates From MinuteManCivilDefenseCorps …

Cross Posted from Red Hot Cuppa Politics

News on the MinuteMan financial debacle gets curiouser and curiouser.

This morning, there’s a front page announcement on the MinuteMan website that the MinuteMan Project is not the same as the MinuteMenCivilDefenseCorps. The MinuteMan Project is directed by Jim Gilchrist, who’s asserting that the MinuteManCivilDefense Corps run by Chris Simcox has no business dealings with the MinuteMan Project.

The MinuteManProject has a different web address from the MinuteManCivilDefenseCorps. You keep track of Jim Gilchrist on the Project site, and there’s news about Chris Simcox’s efforts to build a fence, and recruit civilian volunteers (plus donations) to assist the border patrol on the MMCDC site. I believe the two men have supported each other’s efforts in the past, and at one time were directly connected in the same efforts, which seem to have branched.

Anyway, here’s more on the MMCDC financial debacle.

From the Sierra Vista Herald, yesterday, and it looks like original reporting:

The critics complain that the organization formally known as the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has been raising large amounts of money for a costly Israeli-style barrier but has been building only inexpensive range fencing. And they direct their disapproval squarely at Minuteman founder and president, Chris Simcox.

For his part, Simcox calls the criticism unfounded and petty, and insists his group will soon begin to construct the two-layered, Gaza Strip-model fencing as promised.

Last month, the Sierra Vista-based anti-illegal-immigration group American Patrol posted a report on its Web site comparing the barbed-wire livestock fence the Minutemen built at John and Jack Ladd’s ranch in Palominas with the design for an Israeli-style security barrier that had been promised on the Minuteman Web site …

The president of American Patrol, Glenn Spencer, said he was initially skeptical of the campaign due to his own experiences with Cochise County’s planning and zoning regulations. But he said he decided to speak out after he heard a Phoenix-area man had mortgaged his house to donate $120,000 for the fence.

Spencer said the Minutemen had told supporters their fence would cost $300,000 per mile and urged them to donate generously.

But he said the fencing they have built so far runs closer to $8,000 per mile.

“We have supported the Minutemen and Chris Simcox’s efforts for years,” Spencer said.

“However, in this instance, I felt they went too far in their zeal to gain support.”

Simcox rejected the idea the Minutemen had misrepresented their fence project. He said his group has always made it clear they planned to build a variety of barriers tailored to fit the needs of individual property owners. And he said the Ladds’ fence is still a work in progress, with vehicle barriers and concertina wire to be added at a later date

Here’s another problem: Apparently, the MMDC has used the Diener Consulting group, out of Pennsylvania. It’s a group that generates donations to your political cause, but the problem here is that Peter Kunz, listed as a contractor that manages the fence, works for Dinert Consulting. I have not been able to locate any actual construction credentials for him.

The MinuteMen have also affiliated themselves with Alan Keyes Declaration Alliance, declaring themselves a project of the Keyes group. From the WashingtonTimes, which has been spot on in their reporting, from July 20th:

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps calls itself a “project of the Declaration Alliance,” although few MCDC volunteers know what the alliance does or why Minuteman donations are routed through the charity founded and headed by conservative activist Alan Keyes.

Several Minuteman leaders and members questioned the wisdom of ceding control over fundraising to the Herndon-based Declaration Alliance, part of an intricate weave of conservative organizations founded and chaired by Mr. Keyes or tied to longtime Keyes associates working with MCDC…

According to its Web page (www.declarationalliance.org), the alliance seeks to influence policy and legislation, including initiatives to protect constitutional rights. Its 2006 political goals, through DAPAC, include overturning Roe v. Wade, replacing the income tax with a national sales tax, protecting the right to keep and bear arms, prosecuting the war on terrorism, and securing America’s borders “against foreign invasion.”

Chris Simcox has said that neither the MinuteMenCivilDefenseCorps, nor the Declaration Alliance, have done anything underhanded, and both are squeaky clean in terms of IRS audits. However, it looks to me that there are some unexplained gaps in expenditures. There’s a button on the DeclarationAlliance website, where you can donate to the MinuteMen — but it’s not clear that the donations go to the Chris Simcox MinuteMen, or the Jim Gilchrist MinuteMen, or both — or how much of the donation goes to the generic MinuteMan group.

It’s also possible that the MMCDC might be trying to position themselves to become a national political party with the connections to the Keyes group — and this is not necessarily a bad thing. However, the MinuteMan Project, headed by Jim Gilchrist, seems to be the political wing of the party. He’s already met with the ConstitutionParty, which is well intentioned, I think, but looks a little flakey to me. While I’d love to see a third party emerge for 2008 — we need a sane one.

Unfortunately, folks that donate to the fence expect their money to go to build the fence — not to support national conservative political issues, however worthy they may be. There needs to be a full accounting … and in the meantime, I wouldn’t advise donating money to build the fence unless I were sure the money would actually go to building the fence; at this point, there’s a big, legitimate question.

Incidentally, per the SierraTimes, one of the critical groups is the Texas MinuteMen:

One of the groups lending their voice to the criticism is the Texas Minutemen, an organization Simcox says has been bitter toward him since it was expelled by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps in April 2005 for carrying rifles and using racist language. Last week, the Texas group posted a bulletin to its Web site supporting the American Patrol report and deriding a call by Simcox for $55 million in donations to build 70 additional miles of border fencing in Arizona.

There’s a TexasMinuteMen website. Here’s a link to one homepage, and here’s a link to a Texas MinuteMen forum, with the same web root: www.txminutemen.org. (Oy!)

TexasFred withdrew his support for the MinuteMen months ago. I believe he had his reasons.

I’ll be following this one.

StetsonTip Robert A. Hahn, commenter to yesterday’s article at RedState.com.

**This was a production of The Coalition Against Illegal Immigration (CAII). If you would like to participate, please go to the above link to learn more. Afterwards, email the coalition and let Brian know at what level you would like to participate.**


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