Meet the real Grover Norquist

10/07/2011 -

This week a Republican member of Congress took on an increasingly controversial political activist, Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist, an influential figure in the conservative movement famous for his "no tax increase pledge."

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., took to the House floor in an unusual and blistering denunciation of Norquist and his "unsavory" connections. Among those, he cited:

  • his ties to known terrorist financiers Abdurahman Alamoudi and Sami Al-Arian;
  • his support for the Ground Zero mosque;
  • his advocacy for transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. soil;
  • his lobbying on behalf of Fannie Mae;
  • his representation of the Internet gambling industry.

"Simply put," said Wolf in a sharp attack recorded on C-SPAN, "I believe Mr. Norquist is connected with or has profited from a number of unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream."


In response, Norquist pointed out Wolf is one of only six Republican members of the U.S. House who has refused to sign ATR's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge." He also said Wolf's allegations are "beneath him" and characterized the speech as a "hissy fit" and "a compilation of whack job criticisms."

So what's this all about? Many conservatives, I suspect, are left wondering, "Who's right – Wolf or Norquist?"

The answer: They are both partly right and partly wrong – but Wolf's attack is a great opportunity to shed some much-needed light on one of the most dangerous people in the conservative movement.

Wolf is mostly right about Norquist's very unconservative connections.

As the chief spokesman for Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said recently, Norquist has become the "chief cleric of Shariah tax law" in America. Norquist has used his influence in Washington to propel the careers of people like Suhail Khan, a former Bush White House appointee, whose family founded the Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. and held fundraisers for al-Qaida's No. 2 man, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Thanks to Norquist's sponsorship, Khan now sits on the board of the American Conservative Union, the group that organizes the largest annual conservative conference in the country, known as CPAC. Norquist also serves on that board and the board of the National Rifle Association – as well as the advisory board of GOProud, a homosexual group promoting same-sex marriage, open homosexuality in the U.S. military and hate-crimes laws.

Indeed, Norquist claims to see no conflict between Islamic, Saudi-style Shariah law and the Constitution. In fact, he says Islam "is completely consistent with the U.S. Constitution and a free and open society." Anyone who disagrees with him, like me, an Arab-American whose grandparents fled the Middle East for the liberty they found in America, is "Islamophobic."  Read more here.

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