Politics

Valerie Plame Accepts More Campaign Donations From Prominent Holocaust Denier

Plame in 2017 blamed Jews for America's wars

Democratic congressional candidate Valerie Plame, who faced criticism after sharing multiple anti-Semitic articles from a white supremacist media outlet, has accepted multiple campaign contributions from a prominent Holocaust denier, financial disclosures show.

Plame accepted three contributions from Holocaust denier Pete McCloskey, a former California congressman who referenced the "so-called Holocaust" during a May 2000 speech to a historically anti-Semitic organization.

"Earlier here today I listened to speeches about the courage of men in France, Britain, Germany, and New Zealand who have spoken out against the commonly accepted concept of what occurred during the Second World War in the so-called Holocaust," McCloskey said in his address to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). He also praised IHR, a prominent actor in the Holocaust denial movement with links to neo-Nazi organizations, by saying he "respect[s]" the "thesis of this organization."

Plame has now accepted eight donations from McCloskey and one from his wife, totaling more than $1,200. The questionable source of campaign funds comes as Plame attempts to downplay another anti-Semitism scandal. The candidate shared at least nine anti-Semitic articles from the Unz Review, a self-described "alternative media selection" known for spreading Holocaust denial arguments on social media platforms and funding white supremacist organizations. She issued an apology for the posts in May 2019 but has continued to cash checks from McCloskey.

The Plame campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Plame is running to represent New Mexico's Third Congressional District and has been a magnet for large campaign contributions. The former CIA operative, whose life story was turned into a Sean Penn film, raised nearly $430,000 in the fourth quarter. In addition to Holocaust deniers, Plame has proven popular among the Democratic elite, receiving fourth-quarter contributions from Hollywood actors Bryan Cranston and John Goodman and liberal megadonors Susie Tompkins Buell and Joshua Bekenstein.

Plame came under fire in 2017 after tweeting an Unz Review article titled, "America's Jews Are Driving America's Wars," which suggested that American Jews appearing on television should have a warning label "kind of like a warning label on a bottle of rat poison." Plame defended the post at the time, saying "Many neocon hawks ARE Jewish," but later deleted it. Plame shared at least eight other articles from the same outlet, including an article accusing Israelis of celebrating in the wake of 9/11.

Since announcing her congressional campaign, Plame excused her sharing of the "America's Jews" piece by saying she did not read the full article, despite urging her followers to "Read the entire article" and "put aside [their] biases and think clearly." Plame previously blamed the post on multitasking during a move.

Plame has received favorable coverage since she launched her campaign in May, including New York Times and HuffPost articles that failed to mention her past sharing of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

The national attention has proven lucrative for Plame's campaign—in addition to actor John Goodman, best known for playing the voice of Santa Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Movie, Plame has raked in campaign cash from Hollywood stars Cranston, Naomi Watts, Michael Douglas, and Jonathan Nolan. Plame also received a maximum contribution from Susie Tompkins Buell, a Democracy Alliance member and Esprit clothing line cofounder who led Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential fundraising efforts in San Francisco.

Plame is running to replace outgoing Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.) and faces nine Democratic primary opponents, including Santa Fe County district attorney Marco Serna and Santa Fe lawyer Teresa Leger Fernandez. Plame has significantly outraised her opponents, holding nearly $600,000 on hand despite spending as much as Serna and Fernandez combined. The primary's winner will likely go on to represent New Mexico's Third Congressional District, which has not sent a Republican to Washington since 1997.