What is the National Black Republican Association?

We’ve written about the National Black Republican Association a few times in the past, mostly to point out that they are a small, fringe group that tries to make a name for itself every election season by doing things like running ridiculous ads about how the "Democratic Party is a racist party.” 

Over the weekend, the Sarasota Herald Tribune published a lengthy profile of NBRA Chairman Frances Rice and her antics, which seem to be accomplishing little more than angering and alienating her would-be political allies:

When hearing that the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Jim Greer, had expressed disappointment in her magazine, The Black Republican, which Greer had secured party money to publish, Rice dismissed it with a wave of her hand.

The magazine featured a picture of Ku Klux Klan members burning a cross, with the caption "Every person in this photograph was a Democrat."

Article titles included "Democrats embrace their child molesters," and "Top 10 Democratic sex scandals in Congress," and "Democrats wage war on God."

"Obviously we weren't consulted before she decided to do any of this," said Tony Cooper, president of the Tampa Black Republican Club. "It's a fruitless debate and it may conjure up more ill will toward the party. We should be spending money on debating the Democrats on the issues."

Said Deon Long, president of Florida's Federation of Black Republican Clubs: "We thought those billboards were asinine."

Greer, the state party chairman, said the party is no longer donating to the NBRA. While pictures of himself and Gov. Charlie Crist were on the cover of the magazine, along with favorable articles about them, Greer said he had no knowledge of the other content until after the magazine was published.

"Mrs. Rice has some very strong views on certain issues," Greer said. "It showed us that before we donate to anything, regardless of how it appears, the party needs to ensure it takes a look at all the content."

The article notes that Palm Beach County Republican Party donated $20,000 to start the NBRA back in 2005 and, since then, “nearly everyone else originally part of the NBRA … has since dropped out. The original board included eight members from around the country, and Rice's husband. In a matter of months, all the board members except Rice, her husband and Cadogan resigned.”  Apparently the final straw came after Rice insisted on sending out a press release praising President Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina. 

Rice appears to run the organization with an iron fist, accusing those who disagree with her or not a being “a real Republican” and seemingly having a complete disregard for tax laws governing non-profit organizations, with the Tribune reporting that Rice has shuttered NRBA’s 527 and is relying on donations that have come through the NBRA’s non-profit 501c4 arm to engage in what appears to be partisan electoral work despite the fact that “under the IRS code, [501 c4s] are not allowed to help elect candidates or push partisan politics as their primary purpose.”

But Rice seems to have no regrets about her tactics or her role as a fringe, right-wing activist – in fact, she seems to thrive on it:

"This is the first time in my life that I have felt I am actually doing something about what the Democrats have done in the past and are doing now to black people," Rice said. "If the Democrats had left us alone after the Republicans freed us from slavery we wouldn't be having this discussion today. They are keeping blacks in virtual slavery."