“IT WOULDN’T STOP A TRICYCLE”….Being attacked as a “fringe element” by Alan Keyes is sort of a special honor, like being condemned as “too sensationalistic” by Geraldo Rivera or “too greedy” by Duke Cunningham. So who received this signal honor today?

Answer: a dissident group of Minutemen, the guys who take lawn chairs to the Mexican border and keep an eye out for illegal immigrants trying to enter the country. Apparently, more than a few Minutemen claim that the group’s president, Chris Simcox, has collected millions of dollars for border vigils and fence building and funneled it through an organization run by Keyes, never to be seen again. The Washington Times has the story:

Gary Cole, the Minutemen’s former national director of operations…personally collected “tens of thousands of dollars” in donations during the 30-day border vigil. But despite numerous requests ? many directly to Mr. Simcox ? he was never told how much money had been collected or where it went.

….Mr. Cole said he was removed by Mr. Simcox as a national director after the April 2005 border campaign “for asking too many questions about the money.”

….Mr. Keyes has financially endorsed and supported the Minuteman organization as programs of Declaration Alliance and the Declaration Foundation, another Virginia-based charitable organization that he heads. He accused internal MCDC critics of being “decidedly racist and anti-Semitic,” saying they had been removed as members of the Minuteman organization.

….Even Mr. Simcox’s much-ballyhooed fence project on the Arizona-Mexico border has come under fire, from both within and outside the MCDC organization. Critics said vast sums of money are being collected to build what has been described as an Israeli-style fence to keep out illegal aliens, but all that has been constructed is three miles of a five-strand barb-wired range fence on 2-inch metal poles.

One former Minuteman volunteer said the fence “wouldn’t stop a tricycle.”

Live by the fringe, die by the fringe. Simcox and Keyes say that a “fully accredited, independent auditor” is on the case and will report back soon. Stay tuned.

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