Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) flatly rejected the Loudoun County Democratic Committee’s request on Monday that he step down from the Loudoun Board of Supervisors.
The request came after members of the LCDC discovered the Southern Poverty Law Center had labeled Public Advocate of the United States—for which Delgaudio has served as executive director since 1981—a hate group. The Falls Church-based Public Advocate, is included on SPLC’s “Hate Map” of “active U.S. hate groups.”
“I am not resigning,” Delgaudio said Tuesday. “They lost the last election fair and square and the people of Sterling have spoken. Their next opportunity to provide the people of Sterling a choice in a free election is November 2015.”
A passage included with the Hate Map states that the SPLC counted 1,018 active in 2011, including more than 30 in Virginia. The list includes neo-Nazis, the Nation of Islam, various incarnations of the Ku Klux Klan … and Public Advocate.
“All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” according to the SPLC website. “This list was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports. Hate group activities can include criminal acts, marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing. Websites appearing to be merely the work of a single individual, rather than the publication of a group, are not included in this list.”
The website also includes the caveat: “Listing here does not imply a group advocates or engages in violence or other criminal activity.”
According to Delgaudio’s campaign website, he has served as executive director of Public Advocate since 1981. He describes is as a conservative nonprofit with 100,000 members and a $2.7 million annual budget. Public Advocate’s website describes a number of political, primarily social, issues it supports or opposes. For example, the group supports prayer in school and “traditional marriage,” while opposing “so-called ‘Gay Rights’ and the National Endowment of the Arts.”
LCDC Chairman Evan Macbeth said Public Advocate's inclusion on the list should send a signal to the county's leadership.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center has validated what we have known for a long time: Public Advocate of the United States is, in fact, a group dedicated to hatred and bigotry,” Macbeth said in a press release. “The time has come for Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio to resign immediately as Sterling District Supervisor. Loudoun County is no place for hatred and bigotry.”
Macbeth also called on the members of the Loudoun County Republican Committee to join in the call.
“I am certain they understand the implications of the leader of a hate group continuing to serve as a Loudoun County Supervisor,” Macbeth stated.
Besides rejecting the LCDC request, Delgaudio called on the SPLC “to stop
attacking me and using my name to raise money.”
“That is unethical and I call them the ‘southern poverty fundraising center’ because they should turn themselves into the Alabama bar association for incompetence and unethical behavior,” he said. “For 30 years Public Advocate has stood for traditional family values and today we will stand as always.”
In his response, Delgaudio also solicited for contributions to Public Advocate.
The LCDC has created an online petition on the Change.Org website for those wishing to join the LCDC in its request.
[Correction: This story initially reported the wrong number for Public Advocate's annual budget. The correct figure is now listed.]