Members of the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) plan to attend a January 16, 2010, Tea Party rally in Inverness, Florida.
Marco Rubio, a state legislator who has reportedly attended at least seven previous Tea Party rallies, will headline the Florida rally. Rubio is considered a leader of the nascent movement, which has gained strength through a series of rallies around the country beginning in April 2009. There are no indications of a connection between Rubio and the CofCC or between the CofCC and the organizers of the Inverness rally.
The CofCC has supported the Tea Party movement since its inception, posting numerous articles on the CofCC Web site and in Citizens Informer, the group's newsletter, about the rallies. For example, the April-June 2009 issue of Citizens Informer includes a photo of CofCC members at an April 17, 2009, Tea Party rally in Memphis, Tennessee. The Mississippi CofCC chapter also claimed to have staged its own Tea Party rally on October 31, 2009, in Ripley, Mississippi, with 50 attendees. In addition, CofCC fliers were found on car windshields following an October 30, 2009, rally in Roanoke County Virginia. (The Roanoke Tea Party, which had organized that event, later repudiated the CofCC, saying that it "in no way supports the Council of Conservative Citizens.")
In January 2010, the CofCC posted an article on its Web site publicizing the National Tea Party Convention planned for February 4 -6, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee. That event will feature mainstream conservative speakers.
Numerous other white supremacist groups and individuals have attempted to exploit the Tea Party movement to spread their message over the past year. These efforts have not met with much success, as white supremacist attendees have reported little support for racist or anti-Semitic messages. However, many white supremacists still hope to tap into the growing rage of those in this country who take issue with the economic bailout and policies of the current administration.