During Red Ice TV‘s end of the year livestream, hosts Lana Lokteff and Henrik Palmgren interviewed attorney Kyle Bristow about his legal work on behalf of white supremacists.
Bristow, through his Foundation for the Marketplace of Ideas (“FMI”) has sued universities after they denied Richard Spencer an opportunity to speak. Last year Bristow assisted Sam Dickson in his successful lawsuit against Auburn University.
Bristow also represented James Edwards, a racist Tennessean talk show host, in a defamation suit against the Detroit News after they published a column that called Edwards a Klan leader. The Michigan State Court of Appeals ruled against Edwards in late October.
But according to Bristow, last year was “amazing for our movement and for our people, not only here but in Europe as well.” He praised the activists of Generation Identity for their failed attempt to stop refugee rescue missions in the Mediterranean.
He boasted that the alt-right was creating its own “institutions” like the FMI, which he dubbed “our own version of the ACLU.”
Bristow also asserted that there would soon be an alt-right candidate elected to public office who would “be able to speak for us behind enemy lines in Congress [and] in state legislatures.” It’s probably no coincidence that he made this prediction just as Paul Nehlen’s white nationalist beliefs began making headlines.
The discussion veered back to the FMI, which he informed Lokteff and Palmgren is a “registered nonprofit with the IRS” and has “charity status with the state of Michigan.” A search of the IRS website shows that the FMI is listed as a 501(c)(3) organization. As a 501(c)(3), the FMI is a tax-exempt organization that is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable donations.
And according to michigan.gov, “Generally, any organization that has received a tax-exemption from the IRS under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code is a charitable organization obligated to use its assets for charitable purposes.” It also notes that tax-exempt charities “must provide a public benefit.”
Additionally, the same website provides a document listing over 8 thousand charities that are authorized to solicit donations in Michigan as of December 26, 2017.
On page 199 of that document, the FMI is listed as a charity based out of Clinton Township, MI. Its expiration date is listed as July 31, 2018, meaning the FMI would have 30 days before that date to submit its Charitable Solicitation License Renewal.
Moreover, the FMI is listed on the website GuideStar, a website that reports on nonprofit companies and allows individuals to make donations to them. The FMI website boasts that it is a “platinum participant” — which simply gives the FMI a way to “report quantifiable data in support of their program achievements.”
According to its GuideStar profile, the FMI operates on a $10,000 budget, and its mission is to “educate the public about the freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and people who and organizations which strive to usurp said freedoms.”
It also doesn’t hide its founder’s reputation as a white supremacist troll, stating that Kyle Bristow has been called “one of the Alt-Right’s most vicious attack dogs” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (“SPLC”). It goes on to state:
Lawyers sympathetic with Alt-Right philosophy have begun to network with Bristow and FMI; already, attorneys who are licensed to practice law in sixteen states are accepting referrals from FMI to assist with legal activism against social justice warriors.
In the very near future, FMI hopes to file amicus curiae briefs with federal and state courts to promote Alt-Right philosophy and to defend the Western legal tradition—including the fundamental rights which it recognizes—, and to become a legal juggernaut against the enemies of our people.
One of the most amusing aspects of the FMI’s GuideStar page is the section that describes its organizational demographics. The board and staff are listed as entirely white and male — as one would expect — but under the header “Strategies to Address Diversity,” it merely states “We have a diversity plan.”
Last year, Guidestar briefly added a feature which flagged nonprofits that were listed as hate groups by the SPLC, such as the American Family Association and Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. This decision was reversed after GuideStar employees were inundated with threats. The FMI is listed as a white nationalist hate group by the SPLC.
Bristow bragged that, through the FMI, he has been successful in forcing universities to provide white nationalists a platform from which to spew their racist vitriol. “We have a number of federal lawsuits pending right now,” he said.
“I am assisting a lawyer in Pennsylvania, I am suing Ohio State University, I’m also suing Michigan State University with regards to how they refused to let my client, Cameron Padgett, rent a publicly available room at which he had posted a number of speakers including Richard Spencer.”
He also claimed to have a “legal network” at his disposal, with which he can refer clients to other attorneys sympathetic to the white nationalist cause. And this cause isn’t just limited to ensuring hate group leaders can speak on college campuses.
“It has had such an amazing impact on people too,” Bristow said, “because I mean, there have been college students who have been facing possible suspension or expulsion, or derogatory entries being placed on their student records. And we have had lawyers march in the disciplinary proceedings and basically informed them what will happen to them if they don’t dismiss the cases immediately.”
Interestingly Bristow also brought up the ongoing litigation against The Daily Stormer and its founder Andrew Anglin brought by a Jewish real estate agent. Anglin, with the $150,000 he raised via WeSearchr, hired noted First Amendment attorney Marc Randazza. (Randazza wrote a brief post at the blog Popehat about the case.)
According to Bristow, he and Randazza “go back a number of years.” In fact, he claimed that Randazza was one of Bristow’s two sponsors on his application to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Bristow said that Randazza offered himself as a sponsor on the condition that Bristow would “destroy the Southern Poverty Law Center someday.” Lokteff and Palmgren chuckled at this, and praised Randazza for being a left-of-center attorney committed to freedom of speech.
Of course, the application requires sponsors to sign a statement that the “applicant’s moral and professional character and standing are good.” This good moral character presumably includes stunts like “straight pride” rallies and a “Catch an Illegal Immigrant Day” event — both of which Bristow organized or attempted to organize in college.
Or perhaps it encompasses a person who considers the U.S. Constitution to be “white man’s law,” as Bristow remarked during his Red Ice interview. “These people think hate speech can be criminalized, they think discriminatory behavior can be criminalized, I mean it’s really farcical,” he complained.
On the other hand, Bristow opined that the First Amendment protects hate speech — which is true — but not pornography, which he called “degeneracy” and “smut.” For good measure he added, “I mean I’ve read the Constitution a number of times, I’ve never seen anything in there about abortion or homosexual marriage.”
[The following is a series of clips from a 7 and a half hour live broadcast.]