The American Nazi Party has its first lobbyist in Washington, according to reports.
John Bowles registered with House and Senate offices as a representative of “ANP,” which stands for the American Nazi Party, The Hill reported.
Bowles plans to lobby for “political rights and ballot access laws,” and other issues relating to civil rights, healthcare and immigration, according to the documents.
“You know, congressmen and congresswomen have always been telling the American public that they were open to other viewpoints,” Bowles told The Hill. “I’m going to see if they were sincere about that, or I’m going to call their bluff.”
Bowles was a presidential candidate in 2008 for the National Socialist Movement, according to US News and World Report.
He told The Hill that people in America did not understand the term socialism, but knew what Nazism was.
“So [we] decided: Why don’t we just say what we are?” he added. “In the future, when we get people on the ballot, when people see the swastika on the ballot, they’ll know what they’re getting."
Bowles doesn’t think he will have a problem getting meetings on Capitol Hill, and said he is not going to focus on racial issues or use “racial slurs,” but stick to facts, The Hill reported. He said the first issue he wants to tackle is making it easier for candidates from the ANP to run for office.
“One of my goals is to make it easier to get on the ballot. Trying to get on a ballot in some of these states [is difficult],” he said.
Bowles said he would be lobbying in an official capacity for the Nazi Party, but will not be getting paid.
He said his decision to register was inspired by a reading of the Constitution. “When I saw in there we had the right to petition government, I figured, why not?” he said.
A member of the original ANP who left the group in the 1970s formed the neo-Nazi National Alliance, which, according to an investigation by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), is the single most dangerous organized hate group in the United States today.
“In the past several years, dozens of violent crimes, including murders, bombings and robberies have been traced to NA members or appear to have been inspired by the group's propaganda,” explains the ADL website. It is the “most active neo-Nazi organization in the nation,” with 16 active cells from coast to coast, a reported membership of 1,000, and reported activity in no fewer than 26 states nationwide.
The NA has been most active in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and New Mexico.