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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Buchanan Aide Backs Militias

WASHINGTON -- A co-chairman of television commentator Pat Buchanan's presidential campaign has been a featured speaker at meetings organized by white supremacists and right-wing militia leaders, according to a report released Thursday.

Larry Pratt, director of Gun Owners of America, is considered an advocate of the militia movement, and he has shared podiums with Aryan Nation's leaders and prominent militia chiefs.

Charles Lewis, director of the Center for Public Integrity, said he found it "worrisome'' that someone with Pratt's credentials would have a prominent role in a presidential campaign.

The study found that among all the candidates' advisers were 40 registered lobbyists and 15 people listed with the Justice Department as foreign agents.

But the report's most striking revelations were about Pratt, one of four co-chairmen listed on Buchanan's letterhead.

Pratt has long been a vocal advocate of a citizen's right to own firearms. He is also an author whose writings advocate citizens' militias, and he argues that the Bible demands that Christians bear arms.

Buchanan, asked about Pratt's ties, said he would reserve comment until he had seen the center's report.

After federal agents killed the wife and son of white supremacist Randy Weaver at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in 1992, Pratt was invited to speak at "a seminal meeting'' of militant white supremacists in Estes Park, Colorado, according to Mike Reynolds, an analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center. However, no one has accused Pratt of espousing racist views.

Pratt also spoke alongside militia leader Mark Koernke at a 1995 event hosted by another prominent militia leader, Bo Gritz. According to the report, anti-Semitic and racist literature was available at the meeting. Pratt told the report's authors he didn't share the views of everyone at the meetings.