Since the taking of office by President Donald Trump, an array of political advocacy has erupted around the country, in an attempt to engage and empower young activists to get into politics. However, not all of these efforts have been made in a positive manner, with one of the most notable examples of detrimental activism coming from an organization called Turning Point USA.
The far-right conservative nonprofit, what boasts a strong relationship with Trump, held an event recently which featured Donald Trump Jr. as a keynote speaker. The organization’s intentions claim to provide students with the knowledge and training to advocate for a free market, with limited government interference, similar to the platform many conservative groups promote. Charlie Kirk, the organization’s founder and executive director, identifies Trump Jr. as a close personal friend, and has pushed in favor of the Trump administration since their taking of office.
Crystal Clanton, conservative from Trump-aligned turning point usa that wrote "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE." is faculty at the Leadership Institute, which is breeding ground for conservative activists. pic.twitter.com/3Rt0b03Waq
— Oliver Willis (@owillis) December 21, 2017
At the same time that college-centric group is facing allegations of racism and illegitimate campaign activities, recent discoveries indicated the inherent racial biases that exist in the organization’s leadership, and perhaps throughout their advocacy efforts as well. Screenshots given to the New Yorker identified Crystal Clanton, the former national field director who served the group until last summer, blatantly claiming her hatred of the African-American community.
Then-national field director for major conservative group close to the Trumps wrote in a text: "I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all . . . I hate blacks. End of story.” https://t.co/8MnXBaXkul pic.twitter.com/o5nC5pYD2X
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) December 21, 2017
However, the organization’s racial and discriminatory undertones do not stop simply with the black community. According to the report by The New Yorker, “Speakers at Turning Point events on various college campuses have been accused of going out of their way to thumb their noses at ethnic and cultural insensitivities…Milo Yiannopoulos, for instance…said that despite being gay, he hated ‘faggots’, lesbians, and feminists, who, he said, ‘f***ing hate men.'”
In an attempt to influence young students on college campuses throughout the country, Turning Point has consistently funneled financial resources to help aid like-minded individuals when running for student government, in order to increase the chances of electing right-wing candidates.
CNN quotes Charlie Kirk of Turning Point USA regarding right-wing harassment of leftist profs as though he’s a legitimate authority the same day the New Yorker reports on racism and illegal activity inside TPUSA pic.twitter.com/3EPncKZGfS
— Elizabeth King (@ekingc) December 22, 2017
Various former employees of the organization have claimed in recent years, the apparent pattern of racial, cultural, and ethnic biases running rampant throughout the organizational culture, as is seen in their lack or nonexistence of minority staffers and employees. One employee, who was one of the few African-Americans at the nonprofit, claimed that she was fired on M.L.K. Day.
Although a major issue, the internal biases of Turning Point are not the only cause for concern. Employees and those close to the organization have emerged questioning the legality in some of their activities, specifically in regards to campaign finance legislation and side-stepping such regulations to promote conservative interests. A former employee of the organization has since claimed that Clanton, when still with Turning Point, instructed that she coordinate with wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, in order to help former candidate Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign. The same employee claimed that Clanton, without permission, granted Ginni Thomas her email address for further development of the task.
New Yorker obtained internal docs from Turning Point USA that suggest the conservative group "may have skirted campaign-finance laws that bar charitable organizations from participating in political activity." https://t.co/cRYFfJR1hp
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) December 22, 2017
According to federal regulation regarding nonprofit activities, the law states that any 501(c)3 organization is forbidden from providing value or influencing political action in relation to campaigns, including employing student activists in any way to promote a specific outcome. With Turning Point already undergoing a plethora of controversy, the recent screenshot from Clanton and continued disregard of nonprofit operating legislation is likely to place the organization further in hot water.
Featured Image by The New Yorker