By Rachel Leven - 04/13/12 09:05 PM EDT
The American Nazi Party registered its first lobbyist this week, disclosure records show.
John Bowles registered Tuesday with House and Senate offices to represent the “ANP,” which stands for the American Nazi Party. He plans to lobby on “political rights and ballot access laws,” according to the documents.
Bowles is not limiting his lobbying ventures, listing several “general lobbying issue areas” on the form, including civil rights, healthcare and immigration.
Contacted by The Hill, Bowles said his lobbying activities would test lawmakers’ commitment to hearing all points of view.
“You know, congressmen and congresswomen have always been telling the American public that they were open to other viewpoints,” Bowles said. “I’m going to see if they were sincere about that, or I’m going to call their bluff.”
Asked why he associates himself with the ANP rather than the National Socialist Movement, he said people in America do not understand what socialism is, while Nazism is well known.
“So [we] decided: Why don’t we just say what we are?” Bowles said.
“In the future, when we get people on the ballot, when people see the swastika on the ballot, they’ll know what they’re getting."
Bowles doesn’t think he’ll have a problem getting meetings on Capitol Hill, and said he’s not going to focus on racial issues or use “racial slurs,” but stick to facts. The first issue he said he’d like to tackle is making it easier for candidates from the ANP to run for office.
“One of my goals is to make it easier to get on the ballot. Trying to get on a ballot in some of these states [is difficult],” he said.
Bowles said he would be lobbying in an official capacity for the Nazi Party, but will not be paid for it. He said his decision to register was inspired by a reading of the Constitution.
“When I saw in there we had the right to petition government, I figure, why not?” Bowles said.
— This story was first posted at 12:59 p.m. and has been updated.