Jack Hunter, a congressional aide to Sen. Rand Paul with a history of "neo-Confederate" and "pro-secessionist" views, has produced dozens of articles and video commentaries for The Daily Caller and appeared as what one Fox Business host termed a "regular" guest on that network. He also helped then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC), currently the president of The Heritage Foundation, write his most recent book.
The conservative Washington Free Beacon reported today that Hunter, a "close" Rand Paul aide who also co-wrote the Kentucky Republican's 2011 book, "spent years working as a pro-secessionist radio pundit and neo-Confederate activist ... Hunter was a chairman in the League of the South, which 'advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.'"
Free Beacon also quoted Hunter's South Carolina radio commentary under the pseudonym "The Southern Avenger" in which he expressed adoration for Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth, indignation that white Americans are treated to a "racial double standard," and opposition to Spanish-speaking immigrants. Hunter reportedly "told the Free Beacon that he no longer holds many of these views," including his pro-Lincoln assassin views, but "declined to say that he no longer supports secession."
Free Beacon further reported that "[d]uring public appearances, Hunter often wore a mask on which was printed a Confederate flag" and included the following picture:
While Free Beacon's report was critical of Hunter and his association with Sen. Paul, it did not mention Hunter's ties to The Daily Caller, Fox, and DeMint. The piece instead mentioned that Hunter had written for "paleoconservative websites such as the American Conservative and Taki's Magazine," and even quoted Jim Antle, editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation, who commented on Rand Paul's efforts to "overcome that perception" that he is too close to fringe elements.
The Daily Caller
Hunter's Daily Caller archive lists more than 50 pieces from him between August 2011 and May 2013, including numerous editions of a slickly-produced, Daily Caller-branded video commentary series, "The Deal with Jack Hunter." His most recent Daily Caller piece was published on May 6 and headlined, "Rand Paul shatters left-right paradigm, can help grow GOP." In his written and video commentaries, Hunter regularly promoted the candidacy of Ron Paul, whose 2012 presidential campaign he worked for as an "official campaign blogger."
In a February 2012 Daily Caller video, Hunter argued "that by firing Pat Buchanan, MSNBC, Media Matters and the Color of Change have undermined free speech." Daily Caller has identified Hunter as "known by his radio moniker the 'Southern Avenger,'" and having appeared as "a frequent guest on Fox Business," and collaborating with Sens. Paul and DeMint on their books.
With the exception of the May 2013 piece, Hunter's work for the Daily Caller subsided in August 2012, when he joined Rand Paul's congressional staff. Hunter has continued to write regularly for The American Conservative since that time.
Daily Caller contributor Matt Lewis wrote a post after the publication of the Free Beacon story criticizing Paul's association with Hunter, writing: "It's one thing to have an aide with baggage (even very bad baggage), but the larger problem here is that this also speaks to credibility and honesty -- to Paul's fundamental character." Lewis did not mention that Hunter has written for his site.
UPDATE: In an article published shortly after this post, The Daily Caller reported on the controversy over Hunter's remarks and acknowledged that he "has also contributed opinion pieces to The Daily Caller."
According to a search of the Nexis database, Hunter appeared as a guest on Fox Business' Freedom Watch more than twenty times between March 14, 2011, and February 13, 2012. Freedom Watch was hosted by Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano and was cancelled in February 2012.
Hunter often used his appearances to promote Ron Paul's presidential campaign. In one appearance, Hunter criticized progressives for "want[ing] to tie concepts like nullification or even secession, if you wanted to go that radical a route, to slavery, racism, segregation."
Napolitano, who is close friends with the Paul family, introduced him at times as a "Freedom Watch regular" and a "good friend of the show." On-screen text explained he was "sometimes known as the 'Southern Avenger.'" Fox also identified Hunter as a "Daily Caller contributor" and writer:
Hunter helped write Jim DeMint's most recent 2012 book, Now or Never: Saving America from Economic Collapse. DeMint writes in the acknowledgements page: "I would like to thank my editor and collaborator, Jack Hunter, who contributed his writing skills and passion for freedom to make this book more readable and insightful." Hunter also wrote a chapter introduction in the book. The book features a foreword by Sen. Rand Paul. DeMint is currently the head of the Heritage Foundation, which was recently forced to fire Jason Richwine, the co-author of its immigration study, after past racist writings were revealed.
Hunter's website, southernavenger.com, includes the graphic "As Seen On" and images that include Fox Business and The Daily Caller.
In February 2013, Glenn Beck hosted Hunter on his TV program as one of "three prominent libertarians" there to discuss "how people who believe in peace and freedom can come together and push the country back towards the Constitution and away from big government."
Hunter-DeMint photo via Gage Skidmore.