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NASABA Calls on Michael Pompeo to Stamp Out Racism in his Campaign

August 20, 2010

NASABA recently sent a letter to Mr. Michael Pompeo, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives for the 4th District of Kansas, demanding that he take concrete action against those in his campaign responsible for approvingly linking to a racist blog post about his opponent, Mr. Raj Goyle, a South Asian American and an attorney. While Mr. Pompeo has apologized for the incident, he stated that the blog post was linked to without malicious intent. NASABA believes that Mr. Pompeo’s position defies belief and that Mr. Pompeo should remove those responsible from his campaign. NASABA also calls on the Kansas and national Republican Parties to denounce the injection of racism into the campaign by Mr. Pompeo’s organization.

August 19, 2010

Mr. Michael Pompeo
Pompeo for Congress
434 N. Ohio
Wichita, KS 67214

RE:     Your Campaign’s Recent Tweet about Raj Goyle

Dear Mr. Pompeo:

I am President of the North American South Asian Bar Association (“NASABA”), one of the six national affinity bar associations in the United States.  NASABA serves as the umbrella organization for twenty-seven regional South Asian bar associations throughout the United States and Canada.  As I am sure you are well aware, the rapidly growing South Asian legal community in the United States, which includes over 6,000 attorneys and law students, has made significant contributions in public service, private practice, and academia.

We recently learned that your campaign’s official Twitter feed recommended a hateful and bigoted blog post to your Twitter followers as a “good read.” The blog entry compared your opponent, Mr. Raj Goyle, to “evil muslim communist USURPER comrad [sic], barrack hussein obama” and suggested that Mr. Goyle “is just another ‘turban topper’ we don’t need in congress or any political office that deals with the U.S. Constitution, Christianity and the United States of America!!!” We appreciate your direct apology to Mr. Goyle and believe it is a good start on the road back to a civil campaign focused on the issues, which is the ideal of our Republic.

However, this is simply not enough.  The fact that you believe that your campaign staffer posted the link “inadvertently” and had “no malice in his actions” is simply disingenuous and amounts to nothing short of condoning such racist campaign tactics.  Indeed it is difficult to imagine how one might tweet a particular blog post “inadvertently,” especially from an official campaign Twitter account. It is equally hard to believe that your staffer would recommend such a racist and slur-laced tirade to your campaign supporters without malicious intent, let alone referring your supporters to a blog post so disrespectful of your opponent, Mr. Goyle, and South Asian Americans in general. As you know, two of the rising stars of your own party, Governor. Bobby Jindal and State Rep. Nimrata “Nikki” Haley, share the same ethnic background as Mr. Goyle.  I doubt you would tolerate such racist comments made to members of your own party that have absolutely nothing to do with the relevant political issues.

Bigotry has no place in American politics and NASABA condemns this act in no uncertain terms. We call on you to complete your remedial action and take public disciplinary action against the staff member responsible for the tweet. We also call on the Republican National Committee and the Kansas Republican Party to denounce your staffer’s disgraceful actions.

If there is anything that NASABA can do to aid you in this process, please do not hesitate to call upon us.  As your campaign progresses, we hope you and Mr. Goyle can concentrate on the issues that face Kansans and our country in general.  I appreciate your kind attention and look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

/s/

Annapoorni R. Sankaran
President
North American South Asian Bar Association

cc:       Ms. Amanda Adkins, Chairwoman, The Republican Party of Kansas
Mr. Michael Steele, Chairman, Republican National Committee

About NASABA: The North American South Asian Bar Association (“NASABA”) is the principal voice for the South Asian legal community and a resource for the South Asian community at large. NASABA chapters serve local communities in the United States and Canada, and their members are leaders practicing in large and small law firms, government agencies, corporate legal departments, academia, and public interest groups. With over 6,000 members in 27 chapters NASABA provides a powerful support network for South Asians in the legal community as well as a deep expert pool for the media and events. Contact: NASABA Vice President of Public Relations, Chintan K. Amin at publicrelations@nasaba.com or at +1.404.218.7580. Visit http://www.nasaba.com/, follow us on Twitter (@na_sa_ba), connect with us on LinkedIn (Search: NASABA) and find us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/nationalsouthasianbarassociation).
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