By Ben Kamisar - 03/13/15 05:52 PM EDT
A post on a National Rifle Association website Friday indicated it is opening an ethics investigation into whether prominent conservative activist and NRA board member Grover Norquist holds sympathies for the Muslim Brotherhood after accusations from conservative commentator Glenn Beck.
Beck said in a letter on the NRA political action group's website that NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre is "taking this very seriously" and is beginning an "open and transparent investigation into these alleged ties."
John Kartch, Norquist’s spokesman at Americans for Tax Reform, repudiated Beck’s accusations and said the if the NRA did do an investigation, it would find Norquist has no sympathies with the Muslim Brotherhood.
He linked the accusations against Norquist to an effort by Frank Gaffney, the founder of the conservative national security think tank named the Center for Security Policy, to tar Norquist.
"Frank Gaffney has been peddling this conspiracy crap for 15 plus years. The press has found it beneath contempt. The American Conservative Union looked at it all and voted to condemn Gaffney,” Kartch said.
“The NRA would be the fourth national conservative group to investigate Gaffney’s charges, and the fourth group to point out that Gaffney’s conspiracy theory is without merit.”
Beck has repeatedly alleged on his radio show that Norquist has connections to Islamic groups.
“The people that he hangs out with and the people he helps empower, they are agents of influence for the Muslim Brotherhood,” Beck said on his radio show Friday.
“I don’t believe he’s out trying to destroy America but his efforts and his work will lead to the destruction of America.”
Beck said that from his conversation with LaPierre, he believed the NRA was taking the accusations seriously.
“I was humbled and shocked about how seriously they take your voice,” he told his listeners, who he credited for calling in to prompt the NRA’s investigation.
“They said they are opening up an ethics investigation on Grover, they said they are going to get down to the bottom of this once and for all.”
Norquist has regularly worked to help bring Muslim Americans and the Republican Party together on certain issues. But Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy have claimed that through that work, Norquist has associated with people sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood.
George Landrith, who has worked with Norquist and is the president of another conservative think tank called Frontiers of Freedom, argued the accusations were baseless.
“If Glenn Beck spends time talking on this, it becomes an issue because he has a megaphone and a lot of people listen to him," Landrith told The Hill.
Landrith added that he believes the NRA is trying to placate Beck because of his sizable audience.
“I don’t believe that for even one second that anybody at the NRA is stupid enough to believe this is a real issue,” he said. “This is going to embarrass Mr. Beck, he has wasted an ounce or two of his credibility on a stupid cause.”
Updated at 9:05 p.m.