Saturday, October 16, 2010

With Friends Like These…

If it’s okay to run for Congress in Ohio after playing a Nazi on weekends, is it okay for a congressional candidate in Florida to hang out with a real gang of criminals?

Allen West, a national tea party favorite and the Republican nominee for Congress in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, has (to put it mildly) some controversial friends. According to a new report from NBC News, West has been a fan and defender of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, a national group targeted by the FBI for involvement in racketeering, “violent crimes” and “attempted murder.”

As NBC reported tonight, West has had personal dealings with the Florida chapter of the Outlaws, which lists on its website “Brothers In Prison,” which NBC correspondent Lisa Meyers says includes “many” who “were convicted of violent crimes, including murder.”

Meyers reports on email correspondence between West and a supporter nervous about his interactions with the group that appears to show West defending the group against a characterization that it’s “criminal.”

But as the FBI noted in a June press release announcing a federal indictment of American Outlaw leadership, the national group is suspected of being a “a highly organized criminal enterprise with a defined, multi-level chain of command.”

Here’s the report from NBC News:

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This could get interesting. But hey, criminal drug-running bikers need congressional representation, too.

PS: The Reid Report has all the details of Mr. West’s connections with the gang and his endorsement by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH).

HT to TPM.