Conservative civil war: Islamophobic activist seeks to oust Grover Norquist from NRA board

Anti-tax activist Norquist condemns "conspiracy theories" linking him to Islamist activism

Published February 19, 2015 7:21PM (EST)

Grover Norquist                             (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
Grover Norquist (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Facing re-election to the National Rifle Association's board of directors, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist is mounting a vigorous fightback against conspiracy theories linking him to the Muslim Brotherhood, writing in a letter to fellow board members that he's the victim of a smear campaign by anti-Islam activist Frank Gaffney, with whom he has been embroiled in a long-running feud.

In the letter, obtainedby the conservative website Breitbart News, Norquist calls the Center for Security Policy president and Reagan-era Defense Department official a "stalker" who "spins conspiracy theories" that Norquist is gay, a Muslim, and responsible for the Bush administration's foreign policy blunders. “For the record, No. No. and No,” Norquist responded. “One of his staffers told me I was part of the Russian Jewish Mafia. (Also no, but I think that would pay better.)”

Referring to a recent report by conservative journalist Lee Stranahan, who criticized Norquist family members' pro-Palestinian activism and highlighted questionable financiers of Norquist's Islamic Free Market Institute, the Americans for Tax Reform founder wrote that Gaffney allies' campaign against him had "risen to a new level." Norquist noted that the American Conservative Union's board has unanimously condemned Gaffney's charges of his Islamist ties as "reprehensible" and "unfounded."

“There have over the years been death threats from hopefully harmless idiots who follow Gaffney,” Norquist wrote in his letter. “The authorities have followed up on ones that pass their threshold of specificity. My goal is to respond to any real concern any real person has without exciting the crazies. They feed on attention as it makes them think they are not nuts.”

In his own letter to NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, Gaffney responded to Norquist's letter by accusing Norquist of misleading the board.

“As you know, they [NRA board members] received recently a letter from one of their colleagues, Grover Norquist, in which he makes a number of false representations that require correction,” Gaffney wrote. “That is especially the case as Mr. Norquist is currently standing for reelection to the Board and the information he seems determined to conceal should be known by — and of concern to — every member of the NRA.”

“Specifically, Mr. Norquist attempts to mislead you and other NRA Directors about the nature of his record and conduct about which I have been warning for many years,” Gaffney continued. “The issue is not, as he claims, that he ‘ran the Bush White House and presidency.’ Rather, the problem is that he helped Muslim Brotherhood operatives gain access to and influence over the George W. Bush campaign and administration to the detriment of the President’s conduct of the ‘War on Terrorism’ and the national security.”

The back-and-forth between the two men comes three years after Gaffney attempted to have Norquist expelled from the Conservative Political Action Conference for his alleged Islamist ties, a call that met with widespread derision within conservative ranks. Gaffney also launched an online petition to ban Norquist from last year's event.

By Luke Brinker

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