William Regnery, who funded right-wing extremism, dies at 80
William H. Regnery II, the heir to a family publishing house known for its quiet but influential support of far-right causes in the United States, has died at the age of 80.
He died at his home in Boca Grande, Florida on July 2. A person who answered the phone at Lemon Bay funeral and cremation services in Englewood, Fla. Confirmed on Saturday they handled Regnery’s arrangements, but provided no further information.
Cassie Miller, senior research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an email on Saturday that Regnery’s material contributions had helped create networks of racist activists and a large body of pseudo-scientific literature that it hoped Regnery, would legitimize his calls to build a white ethno-state.
“Although he usually operated in the background, Regnery was a hugely influential figure on the radical right,” Miller said.
In 2016, a review of Associated Press tax records found that the National Policy Institute, founded by Regnery, and three other groups at the forefront of the white nationalist movement had registered as charities and raised more $ 7.8 million in tax-deductible donations over the previous decade.
Regnery has spent much of his life using his family’s money to build the institutional infrastructure that would support the so-called alt-right – an offshoot of conservatism mixing racism, white nationalism, anti-Semitism and populism – and helping to to propel people like Richard Spencer into the limelight, Miller said.
“Regnery’s real legacy is not what he built, but the immense harm he caused,” she said.
Spencer himself tweeted, from Regnery, on July 12, saying he “was lucky to have known him and learned a lot from him.”
In a 2017 article, BuzzFeed News said Regnery felt his ideas were redeemed by former President Donald Trump’s candidacy.
“I think Trump was a legitimator,” Regnery told the publication. White nationalism “went from a conversation you could have in a bathroom to the front living room.”
Regnery was born February 25, 1941 in the Chicago area and raised in the suburb of Hinsdale, Illinois, The New York Times reported. Her father worked for the family textile business.
Regnery’s grandfather, William H. Regnery, was a founding member of the America First Committee, which sought to prevent the United States from participating in World War II. His uncle Henry founded Regnery Publishing, which continues to publish books written by a range of conservative voices, now under the Salem Media Group and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
In 2001, Regnery founded the Charles Martel Society as a nonprofit group. The Southern Poverty Law Center says the organization is named after the man who is credited with “saving Europe” by defeating an invading Muslim force at the Battle of Tours in 734.
The company is the publisher of The Occidental Quarterly, a journal that “unabashedly defends the cultural, ethnic and racial interests of the peoples of Western Europe and examines contemporary political, social and demographic trends that impact the posterity of the world. western civilization ”, according to the SPLC. .
Regnery’s National Policy Institute was once headed by Spencer, but “it doesn’t appear to be operational anymore,” Miller said.
The institute’s death knell likely came earlier this year when a judge ordered the institute to pay $ 2.4 million in damages to an injured Ohio man at the deadly Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, Miller said.