A prominent Ku Klux Klan leader says that the group has raised thousands of dollars for Hillary Clinton's campaign and that the Klan is officially endorsing the Democratic frontrunner for president—a claim the Clinton campaign vigorously denies.
Shortly after setting a giant cross on fire with dozens of other members of various white nationalist groups in Georgia on Saturday, Will Quigg, a Grand Dragon in a California branch of the KKK, sat down with Vocativ—which was there for a larger reporting trip about the modern state of the hate group—to talk about the 2016 election. According to Quigg, "For the KKK, Clinton is our choice."
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"She is friends with the Klan," Quigg said. "A lot of people don't realize that. She's friends with Senator [Robert] Byrd. He's been an Exulted Cyclops in the Klan. He's been King Kleagle." (King Kleagle is another KKK title for the leader of an entire "realm," or state. Quigg is the King Kleagle for California.) Robert Byrd is a former U.S. senator from West Virginia. In the 1940s, Byrd organized and served as the leader of a Klan chapter in West Virginia. Byrd has long since disavowed the Klan and called his involvement "wrong." In 2010, Hillary Clinton called Senator Byrd a "friend and mentor."
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Quigg said that he and other Klan members have raised more than $20,000 for the Clinton campaign and donated it anonymously.
"In the Bible, it says when you pray, pray in a closed, dark place by yourself," Quigg said. "Do not pray on the street corners where people can see you ... that's why I got $20,000 together and sent it to Hillary Clinton's campaign anonymously."
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The Clinton campaign strongly denies receiving any donations from the Ku Klux Klan and rejects the organization's endorsement. "This is completely false," Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told Vocativ. "We want no part of them or their money and vehemently reject their hateful agenda."
It's possible for the Klan to have donated the money without the Clinton campaign knowing —Federal Election Commission rules allow for small anonymous donations. And members of the Klan wouldn't need to disclose their affiliation with the group if they did donate to Clinton's campaign—only their names would appear on Clinton's campaign finance filings.
According to Schwerin, the campaign has "not received anywhere close to $20,000 in anonymous donations in total, [so] it is impossible that they are telling the truth." Vocativ independently verified this through FEC filings.
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The endorsement seems a clear attempt to mar Clinton's reputation—or perhaps a backhanded way to push voters towards Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner whose stance on issues like illegal immigration falls more in line with the KKK's. But Quigg denies this. Trump "couldn't run this country more than he could run a county," he says. "He knows nothing about politics, or about foreign affairs. He went to Israel and almost got thrown out."
Former Klan leader David Duke previously endorsed Trump in the 2016 presidential campaign—an endorsement Trump didn't immediately disavow. Duke, however, does not speak for the Klan, according to Quigg.
As for Clinton, "All the stuff she's saying now, she's saying so she can get into office, okay? She doesn't care about illegal immigrants—she's acting like she does so she can get into office. Once she's in office, then she'll implement her policies. She's a Democrat. The Klan has always been a Democratic organization," Quigg said.