Pennsylvania Rep. Lou Barletta - currently in the running for a U.S. Senate seat - has kept some questionable company over the last several years, dating back to his time in the state as mayor of Hazleton.
As mayor, Barletta did an interview with a fringe publication that promotes Holocaust denial and headlined a rally where a political activist and musician who has questioned the Holocaust and promoted conspiracies about the September 11, 2001 attacks also spoke and performed.
As a congressman, Barletta appeared on a panel put on by the controversial Youth for Western Civilization and spoke at an event hosted by a journal that pushes extreme anti-immigrant views.
When asked about such appearances and interviews, Barletta's deputy campaign manager Jon Anzur played the ignorance card:
"Of course Lou was not aware of these individuals' background. When Lou was mayor, he spoke with people from all over the world who came to Hazleton to report on what was happening," Anzur said in an email statement.
CNN notes Barletta's associations as follows:
- 2007 headliner at anti-immigration event alongside speaker/singer Paul Topete (labeled as anti-Semitic and a Holocaust denier in 2010 by the Anti-Defamation League): "Barletta said the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007 would reward millions for breaking the law, including some who are "murders, rapists, thieves, and terrorists" with legal status."
- 2007 interview with Americans for Immigration Control: "an organization that believes the "annual tidal wave of over a million immigrants (legal and illegal) is endangering our American way of life," according to its website."
- 2011 spoke at an event hosted by The Social Contract: "a journal whose editor, Wayne Lutton, argued in a 2010 edition of the journal that "Islam itself is the problem" and called for the end of all Muslim immigration to the US."
- 2011 sat on immigration panel hosted by Youth for Western Civilization at the Conservative Political Action Conference: "a since-shuttered organization that, according to its website at the time, "focused on the issues of Western history, identity, high culture, and pride as well as opposition to radical multiculturalism, political correctness, racial preferences, mass immigration, and socialism."