Feds Raid Home of Ex-Klansman

The Associated Press/November 17, 2000
By Brett Martel

New Orleans - A federal raid of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's home stemmed from allegations that Duke gambled away hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised for white supremacist causes, court documents said.

According to papers filed in U.S. District Court here Friday, Duke was considered a "high roller" at casinos in Mississippi, Louisiana and Nevada, betting money he solicited from supporters.

A search warrant affidavit made public Friday cited four confidential informants and numerous casino records. Informants told investigators that his office workers "would laugh at the often untruthful excesses Duke concocted in his mass mail-outs asking supporters for money," court papers said.

Agents from the FBI, Internal Revenue Service and the Postal Inspection Service raided Duke's home on Thursday, carting off boxes of documents and a rifle.

Duke's associates said the 50-year-old one-time state legislator was in Russia, promoting a new book, and that they had not been able to reach him Friday.

His new organization is the National Organization For European American Rights, or NOFEAR. He launched it in January, declaring that whites in the United States face "massive discrimination" at the hands of minorities.

No charges have been filed against Duke, and NOFEAR spokesman Vince Edwards said the raid was a "fishing expedition."

Duke appeared before a federal grand jury in New Orleans in 1999 as news broke that Gov. Mike Foster had paid him more than $150,000 for a list of his supporters, supposedly for use during the 1995 governor's race. Duke had considered entering that race but ultimately stayed out of it.

The grand jury reportedly was seeking information on whether Duke paid taxes on the money. Foster, a Republican, paid a $20,000 fine to the state Board of Ethics in connection with the list.

It was not known if Thursday's raid was connected to the sale of the list. Duke spent years on the political fringe, first as a Klan leader with neo-Nazi sympathies, then as founder of the National Association for the Advancement of White People, which decried integration.

He got elected to the state House in 1989 as a Republican and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1990, pulling 44 percent of the vote against Democratic Sen. J. Bennett Johnston.

In the 1991 governor's race, he shocked the political establishment by making it into a runoff with former Gov. Edwin Edwards, who was trying for a comeback. Edwards won in a landslide.

Duke made a run for the presidency in Southern primaries in 1992 but was soundly defeated. He finished third in the 1999 race to replace Rep. Bob Livingston in Congress.

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