Idaho think tank defends conservative speaker

Posted at 1:55 PM, Aug 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-18 15:55:32-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A libertarian think tank with ties to Idaho's top Republicans is defending its decision to invite a conservative author criticized for what some have called racist views linking intelligence to class and race.

   Social scientist Charles Murray was labeled a white nationalist by the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center after the release of his 1994 book, "The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life."

   The Idaho Freedom Foundation booked Murray as their keynote speaker for their Aug. 26 banquet. Foundation Director Wayne Hoffman says Murray's a great man who rejects the SPLC's description.

   In the wake of the deadly white-nationalist rally last weekend in Virginia, the group was forced to find a new location after a Boise hotel declined to host the banquet because of Murray.

   The Idaho event is expected to draw statewide GOP candidates. Several say they support the foundation's work but had no influence in choosing the speaker.