Hypocrites, Liars and Charlatans: Is the minuteman movement doomed?
By: Guest Authors
by: Jack Sharpe
For years now, many leaders and volunteers of the Minuteman Movement have remained quiet about things they know to be true. We all believed it would hurt the movement if Americans knew how their donations were being spent, or what kinds of narcissistic nitwits are leading some of these organizations.
Minutemen held their tongues and soldiered on with the mission. Despite this attempt to protect the movement through silence, Americans have not turned out in the numbers that the original founders had hoped. Why? Because America still sees us as a racist, kooky, fringe group.
In three years there have been less than 6,000 Minutemen that have ever patrolled the border. They are divided into several organizations with many members belonging to two or three of these organizations. Some of these organizations charge a â€œmembership feeâ€ (sometimes referred to as a background check), or monthly dues. But the bigger groups also use professional fundraising companies to raise money from direct mail campaigns and donor drives.
Patriotic Americans often give money in lieu of going to the border, and many of these groups exploit them by claiming that the donations are used to support the Minutemen on the border. However, more often than not, most of the money goes straight into the pockets of the leadership. Not that they are stealing vast sums of money, but after half of the donations are paid back to the fundraising firm, and twenty-five percent split between various creditors, and another twenty percent to operating costs (staff), that only leaves five percent (5 %) of the donations left to actually fund the cause.
Chris Simcox is the president of one of the largest Minuteman Project spin-off groups, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps (MCDC). Chris and MCDC split away from Jim Gilchristâ€™s Minuteman Project over two years ago to become a â€œprojectâ€ of Declaration Alliance. Chris hired a slick Washington Consulting company (Diener and Associates) to handle MCDCâ€™s finances and raise money for the organization.
Before Simcox knew it was happening, he had lost control of his organization to a DC beltway insiderâ€™s coalition. They took control of MCDCâ€™s parent corporation after Simcox was convicted of a weapons violation on Federal land. For the record: Simcox was legally wearing a sidearm until he accidentally entered a state park. The felony prevented him from remaining the head of the group, but the fundraising company kept him on as the â€œFounderâ€ and sent him on the paid lecture circuit. With a wife and children to consider, Simcox was in no position to turn on his masters.
Last year almost half of the members of MCDC revolted against Simcox and tried to take the organization away from its real owner, fundraiser Diener and Associates. The members claimed that they received no financial support from MCDC and were instructed to send what little donations they could scrape up to Headquarters for redistribution. Many Chapter leaders complained, but they were dismissed or ignored.
At one point the majority of the chapter leaders called for a meeting with Simcox to ask where the money went. Simcox had no idea and no one from the fundraising company would tell him. The rebelling members demanded to see the financial books, but Simcox didnâ€™t have them and wasnâ€™t sure who did. He then did the only thing he could do; he ran away and hid.
At this point Simcox had become jealous of the success of Jim Gilchristâ€™s Minuteman Project. The Minuteman Project had just survived its own 911-style hijacking attempt, but only lost a handful of members over it. The difference was simple, Gilchrist always retained control of his organization and its finances; it was easy for Jim to have an independent audit and to make his books public. Jim Gilchrist was still able to get choice interviews and was requested for more public appearances than Simcox because he had less baggage, better media people and was just more interesting than Simcox. Gilchrist also had invested more than 7,000 hours of non-paid time and as much as $70,000 into the Minuteman Project since its inception on October 1, 2004.
Gilchrist has always been an odd duck among the secure borders groups. Jim never hated or blamed people for trying to find work or build a better life; he blamed the government of Mexico for causing the problem and our own Government for doing almost nothing to stop it. Unlike the fringe leaders, Jim took an active role in weeding out racists and â€œnutsâ€ from his organization instead of promoting them.
Most Minutemen first heard about the movement from seeing Gilchrist on TV. It was Gilchrist who tirelessly spread the minuteman word through television and radio interviews, rallies, border operations, coast-to-coast caravans, speaking tours and protests, and endless appearances at various city council meetings throughout southern California. It was Gilchrist who was attacked at Columbia University, Gilchrist who was protested and verbally assaulted by the NSA (Nazis/skinheads), and it is Jim Gilchrist who has time and again risked his life to bring America one simple message: We must secure our borders and enforce our laws!
It had grown quiet between Simcox and Gilchrist prior to Jimâ€™s endorsement of Mike Huckabee. Jim was finishing the reconstruction of the Minuteman Project leadership, preparing to launch a new â€œnationwide project to prevent illegal aliens from votingâ€ and also considering a run for Congress against incumbent Loretta Sanchez (D) of Californiaâ€™s 47th District.
It was Huckabee who contacted Jim Gilchrist and asked him to read his nine point plan on immigration. Jim was excited that a â€œtop tierâ€ candidate understood the problem and had committed himself in writing to a workable plan to solve it. Jim did not come to this decision overnight. He and his closest associates researched primary sources and considered the fact that Huckabee was the only candidate in the top three Republican choices (Huckabee, Romney, Giuliani) with an immigration law enforcement advocacy platform.
Jim wrote a list of questions for Huckabee, which he asked him in person. Jim started that meeting with Huckabee stone-faced and unconvinced, but he left it in good spirits. For the first time in several years, Jim Gilchrist was optimistic about our nationâ€™s future. A week later, he traveled to Iowa and formally endorsed Mike Huckabee for President of the United States. No Minuteman Project money was used for this trip.
Without so much as a phone call to Jim Gilchrist asking him why, several leaders of Minuteman fringe groups viciously attacked Jim and Mike Huckabee with the hopes of getting some cheap publicity for themselves. The same people who complain when someone quotes the propaganda of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) because of its bias were quoting comments by the Club for Growth against Huckabee. The Club For Growth is the same anti-gun, pro NAFTA, Giuliani supporting Club for Growth propaganda machine that pejoratively refers to the Minutemen as â€œvigilantesâ€ and â€œmilitia typesâ€.
It only took Simcox two days to pile on and take his cheap shot at Jim Gilchrist as well. He and his friend William Gheen (ALIPAC) have started a â€œdestroy Gilchrist and Huckabeeâ€ campaign with help from among the kooks and zealots of the movement.
William Gheen, President of ALIPAC, has had a personal grudge against Jim Gilchrist since the Minuteman Project was founded. Gheen makes his living soliciting donations from unsuspecting Americans in the name of border security. What most people donâ€™t know is just how much of the donor money coming into his organization Gheen pockets. He has never opened his books to the public or explained what happened to the money that many hard working people have given to him. William Gheen uses fear- mongering and race baiting to scare old people out of their savings with stories of â€œthe savage invasion from the Southern borderâ€.
When Gilchrist founded the Minuteman Project many patriots believed that Jim was doing more for the movement than all of the dozen of other activist organizations combined. This caused the donor money to dry up for Gheen and ALIPAC, and Simcox and MCDC. And, oh, how they ranted and cursed Gilchrist and the Minuteman Project!
To preserve their â€œcash cowsâ€, the naÃ¯ve American donor base that has already sent them millions of dollars, Simcox, Gheen, and other so-called secure-borders advocates have to attack Gilchristâ€™s endorsement of Mike Huckabee. If Huckabee is elected President he promises â€œin writingâ€ (www.mikehuckabee.com) to secure the borders within two years, actually enforce immigration laws, and severely punish the unscrupulous employers that hire and exploit illegal alien labor. That certainly would end our mission and the need for a minuteman movement.
Mike Huckabee and Jim Gilchrist are threats to the continued financial security and commercial enterprises of these professional extremists and charlatans who make an earnest market in soliciting public donations to stop the illegal alien invasion crisis.
Fellow patriots, it is up to you now. You can join the charlatans in their witch hunt against Jim Gilchrist and his Minuteman Project, or reserve judgment until you can research the matters yourself. Meanwhile, Gilchristâ€™s Minuteman Project, which does not require â€œmembership feesâ€ to participate in saving America, stoically plods onward, relying on only a hope, a prayer, and a vision inspired by our Founding Fathers.