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African American Republican Leadership Council

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This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

The African American Republican Leadership Council (AARLC) says that its mission is to "break the liberal Democrat stranglehold over Black America." Currently only 14 percent of African-Americans vote Republican. AARLC seeks to "increase African Americans support for common sense Reaganite Republican public policies ... to a strategic target of 25 percent," a "necessary threshold" needed to elect Republicans in electoral races "where the black electorate can be the deciding vote."

AARLC was featured in a number of news stories in December 2002, following the controversy over Republican Senator Trent Lott's comments praising fellow Senator Strom Thurmond's blatantly segregationist 1948 presidential campaign. AARLC spokesman Kevin L. Martin rose to Lott's defense, saying that Lott's statement was "lighthearted, it was humorous."[1]

Washington Post columnist Gene Weingarten spoke with Martin in January 2003, who confirmed that he has "a nice working relationship with Sen. Lott." Weingartein also visited the AARLC web site and found that its leadership and members are almost all white. "The honorary chairman of the panel is listed as former U.S. senator Edward W. Brooke III, a Republican from Massachusetts," Weingarten reported. "So I called up Brooke, who confirmed the important fact that he is black. Alas, he is not in any way associated with the group. He said he'd never heard of it and had no idea why his name was on the site. However, he was only 'honorary.' Beneath his name were the names of the group's official 15-person Advisory Panel. It includes noted conservatives Paul Weyrich, Sean Hannity, Grover Norquist and Gary Bauer, all of whom are as white as a mashed potato and marshmallow sandwich on Wonder Bread. In fact, all but two of the 15 members of the Advisory Panel of the African American Republican Leadership Council are white."[2]

Many prominent Republican politicians have signed AARLC's "Mantle of Lincoln" pledge, stating that they "wholeheartedly agree that increasing Black America support to at least 25 percent is reasonable and attainable in making the overwhelming difference vis-Ã vis Reaganite candidates and common sense public policies." In addition to Trent Lott and Strom Thurmond, signers included North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, "the last prominent unabashed white racist politician in this country."[3]

Leadership

Advisory Panel

Staff

Contact information

African American Republican Leadership Council
The Ronald Reagan Building
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202.675.8338
Fax: 202.546.6589
www.aarlc.org