The head of a Houston-area Tea Party group appears to have been dabbling in extremist right-wing politics for some time and has shared the political stage with various far-right activist and elected leaders in Texas.
According to a report in the Texas Tribune, James Ives, president of the Greater Fort Bend County Tea Party, served as recently as 2003 as director of propaganda for the American Fascist Party. From the Tribune:
Ives and his wife have been active Tea Partiers since the political movement began in 2009. Ives spoke about “American exceptionalism” at a 2010 “Back to Basics” rally at the state Capitol, shared billing on a live 2011 radio broadcast with prominent conservative activists Michael Quinn Sullivan and Jonathan Saenz, and in 2012 hosted a U.S. Senate forum for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and the man who would later defeat him, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz. As recently as July, he was listed on the website of Houston radio station KSEV — [Houston state Sen. Dan] Patrick’s station — as a regular contributor.
Sullivan, head of Empower Texans/Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, is so far to the political right that he thinks current Republican leaders in the Texas House are too liberal. He also thinks the Pilgrims were commies and Obamacare is slavery. Saenz is president of Texas Values, an extension of Plano-based Liberty Institute, an anti-science and anti-gay group that opposes separation of church and state. Saenz and Liberty Institute have tied themselves to one extremist political position after another over the years.
Ives told the Tribune that the American Fascist Party was “pro-Constitution” and “pro-America.” He claims he was a member of the party so he could “do research for a ‘political novel of intrigue.'” Again from the Tribune:
Ives never wrote a novel. He did write a range of posts on the party’s Yahoo message board, communicating with his fellow “blackshirts” and the party’s chief organizer, a man who identified himself as the “Glorious Leader.”
In one post, he channeled Benito Mussolini, the World War II-era Italian dictator and founder of that country’s National Fascist Party, saying building up the fascist movement in America was “our spirit, our calling.”