State Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, author of an anti-illegal immigration bill due to become law Nov. 1, said today he was unaware that an organization which helped him write the legislation had financial ties to an alleged hate group.
On the Friday before publication, Oklahoma Gazette asked Terrill about his knowledge that the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR, received funding from an alleged white supremacist organization.
"Are you aware of this?" Gazette asked. "What do you think about it?"
"Sorry for the brief delay," Terrill responded. "That's news to me. Assuming the veracity of the information " which I very seriously doubt " I have no personal knowledge, am otherwise unaware of, nor would ever condone any such thing. And, after our visits, I suspect you know that to be true. Nevertheless, given the last-minute nature of your inquiry, I am sure that it will be carefully woven into your story to make it appear otherwise. That is unfortunate, not just because it is untrue, but because of the terrible damage it does to your own credibility and reputation."
The information became apparent during fact-checking on background of FAIR, an organization involved in writing Oklahoma's law. Several sources including The Wall Street Journal, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League published that FAIR had financial backing from a not-for-profit foundation called the Pioneer Fund, designated by the SPLC as a "hate group."
Terrill had more than three days to respond to the Gazette's question before presstime. However, he did not until after the story had gone to print and was previewed Oct. 23 on Oklahoma City's FOX affiliate, KOKH-TV Channel 25.
Both Terrill and FAIR deny criticisms of racism in the Gazette's full report.
"They say, 'Randy, you're a bigot and a racist and a "hatemonger,"'" Terrill said. "Listen, this has absolutely nothing to do with cultural and demographic changes or that these people are of some particular national origin." "Ben Fenwick
More on Terrill and immigration:
Organization funded by alleged hate group helped write Oklahoma's illegal immigration law