Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee in the Alabama Senate race, once defended a man who has ties to the Ku Klux Klan and Holocaust deniers.
Jones has largely built his campaign on his stint as a U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, where he prosecuted two KKK members who killed four black children in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.
As Fox News reports, however, Jones’ time as an alleged civil rights defender is a bit more complicated.
In the 1980s, Jones worked as a private defense attorney, where he defended Tom Posey, a key figure in the Iran-Contra affair with ties to the KKK and Holocaust deniers.
In 1983, Posey founded the Civilian Materiel Assistance (CMA) group, a paramilitary group which began by providing supplies and training to rebel groups in Nicaragua. Posey was eventually accused of illegal gun-running to Nicaragua when such activities were banned by the government. Posey was allegedly working with a White House liaison to ship weapons to the Nicaraguan rebels.
Posey got off of the charges thanks to his lawyer, Doug Jones.
“Jones said Wednesday that Posey kept in his house caches of weapons sent by private contributors but did not forward them to the Contras because he ‘knew it was against the law,'” United Press International (UPI) reported at the time. “Jones said his client would dispute the allegations against him in talking to the Senate investigators today.”
But the CMA’s controversies go beyond the Iran-Contra scandal.
In 1986, a year before Jones represented Posey, the CMA came under fire for rounding up illegal immigrants at gunpoint, despite having no police or governmental authority to do so.
Further, as the UPI reported, “The group is trailed by hints of shadowy connections, ranging from the CIA to the Ku Klux Klan, and members have been charged with an assortment of Latin American mischief, including gun running, drug smuggling and assassination plots.”
Some of the CMA’s most prominent members had direct ties to racist groups.
Chicago CMA chapter leader Arthur Jones was described by the Anti-Defamation League as a “a long-time neo-Nazi who has been involved with anti-Semitic and racist groups since the 1970s.” Arthur Jones attended multiple neo-Nazi rallies, celebrated Adolf Hitler’s birthday, and called the Holocaust a lie made up by “the Jews.” Jones ran for Congress in 2016 but was removed from the ballot prior to the primary.
John Matthews was a part of the CMA from 1985 to the 1990s and told Newsweek in 2011 that he “traveled across the country with Posey and others, attending dance parties with the Ku Klux Klan, selling weapons at truck stops and gas stations, sitting in church pews with would-be abortion-clinic bombers, and becoming a regular at gun shows and in paramilitary compounds.”
Matthews, a former white supremacist, left CMA after becoming an FBI informant and gathering intel on Posey’s plots to counterfeit money, smuggle weapons, rob armories, and set off bombs on gas and power lines.
Jones’ campaign responded to Fox News’ reporting on Jones’ ties to the KKK and other extremist groups by reiterating his “commitment to civil and human rights.”
“Doug’s commitment to civil and human rights has been unwavering, as demonstrated by his well-documented career,” the campaign spokesperson said. “This case only involved Posey’s activities with the Contras and these charges were dismissed by a federal judge in Florida. Doug also represented Mr. Posey when he cooperated with congressional investigators.”