A state lawmaker is lambasting Gov. Bruce Rauner after Illinois’ top leader met in private during the weekend with members of the McHenry County Republican Party.
Rauner spent part of his Saturday at an invitation-only roundtable at the McHenry County GOP’s Crystal Lake headquarters – an event featuring a who’s who of party insiders, including McHenry County Sheriff Bill Prim, McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and County Board member Jim Kearns.
But state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, took issue with someone else in attendance at the meetup: the local Republican Party’s new chairwoman, Diane Evertsen, who at one time served as president of the Minutemen Midwest – an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center designated a “nativist extremist” group.
“The governor should apologize for meeting with a known extremist,” said McSweeney, who heard about the meeting after it happened.
McSweeney pointed to Evertsen’s association with Minutemen Midwest, which the SPLC named several times on its annual list of nativist extremist groups between 2007 and 2010.
The Alabama-based civil rights nonprofit defines nativist extremist groups as organizations that go beyond mere advocacy to personally confront suspected undocumented immigrants or those who hire or help them.
McSweeney said a simple Google search reveals the views of the group Evertsen chaired. The legislator characterized those views as “disgraceful.”
Minutemen Midwest had a website – www.minutemenmidwest.com – but it has been taken down since its launch. Although the site is dead, some of the material published there is recoverable with the internet archive known as the “Wayback Machine,” McSweeney said.
McSweeney highlighted an article published on the website written by William H. Calhoun titled “Illegal Immigration: Third-World Invasion” – a piece suggesting the U.S. is under threat by immigrants of different “blood.”
“Invaders from the Orient, Asia, Africa, Central and South America are invading the first world, and they are intent only upon conquest,” the article said. “With the exception of a very small upper class of pure European blood, most Mexicans are either Amerindian or mestizo (mostly Amerindian with a few drops of Spaniard or African blood). They are not Western; genealogically, they are Asiatic, and they despise the West.”
The article appalled McSweeney, he said.
“It’s probably the most extreme article that I’ve read in a long time,” McSweeney said. “It’s disgusting.”
Evertsen, a 73-year-old Harvard grandmother who once served on the County Board and now serves on McHenry County College’s Board of Trustees, could not be reached for comment.
The Northwest Herald also reached out to Rauner’s campaign communications director for comment, but campaign officials were not available Tuesday.
About 20 people attended the gathering Saturday, sources invited to the event said.