Met With Ex-Chief of CCC
Charleston Post and Courier, Friday, February 12, 1999, page B12
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Politicians who have associated with Council
of Conservative Citizens members are catching heat again, and
this time the criticism includes South Carolina's new Democratic
governor, Jim Hodges.
last year's campaign, then-candidate Hodges met with Jerry Creech,
a former chairman of the council's South Carolina chapter, to
discuss keeping the Confederate flag atop the Statehouse.
The council has been portrayed as a racist and white-supremacist
group. Critics have said some Republicans, including U.S. Senate
Majority Leader Trent Lott, should not have spoken its members.
The Palmetto Journal posted a story on its Internet site about
Hodges' meeting with Creech, and the state Republican Party distributed
the story this week.
"Hodges met and organized a campaign with the council, which
played a significant role in his campaign," said GOP Executive
Director Trey Walker. "It was not by accident."
Hodges' spokeswoman, Nina Brook, said he was asked to meet with
supporters of Lexington County Sheriff James Metts, who had dropped
out of the governor's race.
"When this story was getting floated, it was getting floated
as a Council of Conservative Citizens story," Brook said.
"He did not meet with a representative of that organization."
with Creech, Hodges met with Ron G. Wilson of Easley, who has
described himself as an officer in the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Hodges said that if he were elected governor, he would not try
to remove the flag but would sign any compromise the Legislature
approved, the newspaper reported.
and Wilson then formed the Palmetto League, a group of flag supporters
who hated Republican Gov. David Beasley for his attempts to remove
the flag from atop the Statehouse dome.
chickens came home to roost, and the beneficiary was Jim Hodges,"
Hodges' election, Creech, Wilson and other flag supporters met
with him again at his transition office where he thanked them
for the support and reassured them his stance had not changed,
the newspaper said.
St. Louis-based council got headlines last month when it was disclosed
that Lott, R-Miss., and U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., addressed meetings.
Both said they were unaware of its racist reputation and have
since denounced the group.
publications have likened interracial marriage to genocide and
suggested that Abraham Lincoln was elected by communists.
GOP leaders also want Buddy Witherspoon, a Republican National
Committee member from South Carolina, to step down as a CCC member
or be removed from his party position.
presents the wrong image," said Martha Edens of Columbia,
a former national committee member. "We have enough problems.
He needs to make a clean break. I don't think his membership in
that organization is representative of the Republican philosophy
in this state."
has defended the council and denied it holds racist views. He
said the group advocates conservative causes, especially the right
to display the Confederate flag in the South. He refused to discuss
his future with the party.