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Pima Supes appoint Holocaust denier as Libertarian Party official

Pima Supes appoint Holocaust denier as Libertarian Party official

Croteau spreads conspiracist claims about Jews, Israeli gov't, COVID vaccines, denies moon landing & shares Nazi propaganda

In a split vote Tuesday, the Pima County Board of Supervisors approved the Libertarian Party's request to appoint a perennial fringe political candidate, conspiracy monger and outspoken Holocaust denier as a precinct committeeman.

David Croteau, who unsuccessfully ran for a series of political offices as a Green Party candidate before being kicked off that group's executive committee due to his antisemitic views, has now joined the Libertarians and will fill a vacant spot in the lowest-level of elected offices in the county, as a party official in his precinct.

The supervisors, who had in November unanimously declined to appoint Croteau as a PC, OKed him taking office with a 3-2 vote with little debate Tuesday morning. Precinct committeemen are technically elected officials, but are routinely appointed to fill vacancies across the hundreds of empty slots in the county, across all political parties. Tuesday, the county board approved 39 other PC appointments as a group with no comment, but a single "no" vote from Supervisor Steve Christy.

But Croteau's pattern of rhetoric pushing pro-Nazi themes prompted "no" votes from Board Chair Adelita Grijalva and Supervisor Matt Heinz, both Democrats, after his name was pulled from the consent agenda for an individual vote.

Even so, he garnered more votes at the meeting than it likely would've taken to elect him to the office if he had run for it last year. Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Rex Scott, both Democrats, joined Republican Supervisor Steve Christy in voting in favor of his appointment.

'I identify as a conspiracy theorist'

Croteau has repeatedly posted antisemitic material on social media over the years, including a virulent meme that accused the Jews of "mass murder" and "control of the media" and financial institutions, as well as posts denying that the Holocaust took place.

Rather than deny those views, the multi-time failed candidate has defended them vigorously. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, he has spread anti-vaccine propaganda while continuing a drumbeat of conspiracist posts about the 2001 terrorist attack on the United States.

"I identify as a conspiracy theorist, my pronouns are... Told/You/So," read a meme he shared in December.

At Tuesday's meeting, Croteau spoke at the call to the public, denying that he is "racist" while not directly doing so regarding antisemitism. He told the supervisors that he is opposed to "Zionism."

A 2017 meme posted by the Tucsonan included the usual anti-Jewish statements familiar from too many hate screeds: that the Jews instigate wars and create chaos, have murdered millions and cover up their crimes by controlling the media.

Responding to comments on that post, which attracted attention, Croteau — who frequently shares conspiratorial "Truther" claims that "the Zionist State" was behind the World Trade Center attacks in 2001 — again claimed that Israel attacked the United States on 9/11.

Croteau, who had been widely known as "Green Party Dave" before that group disavowed him, also shared a lengthy post (later deleted or hidden — see a screenshot of just a portion of the post at left), penned by conspiracist Chuck Maultsby, that attempts to deny the Holocaust — the systematic murder of millions of Jews by the Nazi regime during World War II — took place at all. Maultsby's more well-known as the leader of longtime local band Chuck Wagon and the Wheels, but has for years been maintaining a website full of neo-Nazi propaganda and 9/11 "Truther" materials.

That post, which didn't attract the social media attention that the meme shared by Croteau did, began: "Is the Holocaust a Hoax? Short Answer: OF COURSE. Within five minutes, any intelligent, open-minded person can be convinced that the Holocaust gassings of World War II are a profitable hoax."

"Even The Diary of Anne Frank is a hoax," that post claimed, echoing familiar themes from Holocaust deniers.

'6 million gassed by Germany is a lie'

Last November, Croteau promoted Maultsby's writings yet again, even as the public has became more aware of his parroting of Nazi propaganda themes.

"Israel and traitors in the U.S. military did kill Americans on 9/11. Six million gassed by Germany is a lie. What truth about 9/11 do you believe?," he posted five years ago.

Croteau, who has at least twice failed to even gather the handful of signatures a Green candidate needs to make the ballot (seeking to run for City Council in 2009 and Pima County sheriff in 2016), has run for sheriff (2000 and 2012) and mayor of Tucson (2007 and 2011, losing in the primary in the latter).

Local Greens told the Sentinel in 2017 that the party "rejects and condemns racism and antisemitism... In fact, Mr Croteau was impeached from the Green Party of Pima County over two years ago for publishing antisemitic views."

Croteau ran for sheriff in 2000 on a platform of legalization and taxation of marijuana, getting 16 percent of the vote in a race without a Republican candidate challenging incumbent Democrat Clarence Dupnik (more than 46,000 votes for the Green). He ran for mayor in 2007, when he got 28 percent of the vote in a race that saw GOP Mayor Bob Walkup without a Democratic opponent (15,600 votes for Croteau). In the 2012 sheriff's contest, he got about three percent of the vote as Republican Mark Napier failed to unseat Dupnik (12,300 votes).

Last year, Croteau could have run for office as a Libertarian precinct committeeman. Because there are so few registered Libertarian Party members, it would've taken just a single signature on a nominating petition to earn his way on the ballot in the August primary, at which he likely would've been elected with just a single vote. Rather than choosing to add his name to a ballot, he took the route of being appointed.

The meme posted by Croteau in 2017, which he hid or deleted after it attracted public notice, included the following words on top of a photograph of a young woman:

Have you ever studied the history of the Jews?

Did you know that they have always banded together as a tribe, infiltrated governments, monopolized the financial systems of nations, instigated wars and intentionally created chaos in societies?

The Jews have mass murdered millions of non-Jews over the centuries but they've seized control of the media so you'll never find out.

Study the history of the Jews!

Croteau, a house painter, was one of the organizers of Occupy Tucson in 2012. Despite his left-wing Green Party and Veterans for Peace involvement, he has also aligned himself with the right-wing "Oathkeepers" group — although the local leader of that group said in 2017 that it had "suspended" his membership. Last year, he said he was voting for Trumpist Republican candidate for Arizona governor Kari Lake.

"While you weren't looking, the US government and mainstream media were totally infiltrated by Zionist Jews who control it all," read a post Croteau shared in December.

"I don't believe we went to the moon in 1969. Prove me wrong," he wrote that same month, posting a video that claims NASA astronauts never traveled to the moon.

In September, Croteau posted Russian propaganda, attributing it to a speech by Vladimir Putin, that "the American Biden regime which the majority of the world consider fraudulent and stolen, has single-handedly created COVID-19 by engineering biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine...."

"Alex Jones is the messenger," Croteau has said of the disgraced radio conspiracist, calling 9/11 a "false flag" attack.

"Mossad agents were in the Twin Towers as Israeli art students Google it," he posted.

"The same people that created the state of Israel and killed JFK are still in power and are running the interest of our country to hell," Croteau has claimed.

"The truth is adding up," he once posted while linking to a (since-deleted) Youtube video calling the Holocaust "The greatest lie ever told."

Earlier in his years-long pattern, Croteau linked to another Youtube video, "Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told," a 6.5-hour paean to the Nazi leader of which he said he "spent many hours last week reviewing this very long and detailed portrayal of the modern world wars. I believe we have been lied to, again by traitors in our government."

Directly questioned about his views many times over the years, Croteau has refused to deny that he does not believe that the Nazi regime committed mass murder of European Jews. Instead, he consistently dodges by "asking questions" with implications about Israel's government and the 9/11 attacks, and other conspiracist topics.

'I resent you calling me a racist'

In November, when Croteau's name was first forwarded to the Board of Supervisors for appointment, none of them would support him.

Supervisor Grijalva pulled his name from the consent agenda, in order to have the item considered separately.

"It has been brought to my attention that Mr. Croteau has shared antisemitic content on his personal social media accounts in the past," she said then. "It is absolutely unacceptable. It has no place here."

"In standing against and condemning racism and antisemitism, I find it imperative that we do not move forward with appointing him," Grijalva said in November.

"I appreciate that (not acting on PC appointments) is not usually something that we do here, but I do think that there is a reason that these come to us," she said. "I think it's notable that his social media activity led to the Green Party impeaching Mr. Croteau in 2017, so that's why he's in this party."

None of the supervisors made a motion to approve Croteau for the post at the Nov. 15 meeting.

Tuesday, Croteau said that his name "was pulled by you, Miss Grijalva, saying that I was racist, that I was antisemitic, and that I was impeached from the Green Party."

"The Democrats of Tucson have gone out of their way to stifle the growth of third-party opposition to their stranglehold on Pima County," he said during the call to the audience portion of the meeting.

"The Pima County Green Party was used by the Democrats to train and gather new members of their leadership team... stifling the growth of the Green Party itself with only 22 precinct captains," he said.

Croteau, in his allotted three minutes to address the board, repeatedly mentioned Grijalva's reference to antisemitic posts, but never directly denied that he holds such beliefs.

"I am not racist, Miss Grijalva," he said. "You implied from an article by Dylan Smith in the Tucson Sentinel that I posted a meme on Facebook calling Zionism the worst thing to come to America and to the world because of its political action."

The Sentinel has never published a report about Croteau with any such reference.

"Zionism is a political action committee just like the Republic Party," he said. Mentioning his Native American heritage and his father's work in education, Croteau said "I resent you calling me a racist."

Dru Heaton, the chair of the Pima County Libertarian Party, also spoke during the call to the audience to support Croteau's appointment, saying he was "slanderously accused of being a racist."

"Being against Zionism isn't being a racist," she said, noting that some Jews don't support Zionism. "On it's face, it's false."

"Not only is it false, but it should not deny him the privilege of serving his neighbors as a precinct comitteemember for the Libertarian Party," she said.

Referencing Malcolm X, Heaton said, " if you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing."

"Mr. Croteau has done nothing but serve his community and his neighbors very well, contrary to what you might find in the newspaper," the Libertarian chair said.

Supervisor Scott joined Grijalva on Tuesday in wanting the issue of Croteau's appointment pulled for separate consideration, rather than including him among the 40 names to be appointed as PCs as a group.

Scott errantly said Tuesday that in November, the "board voted unanimously not to move forward" with Croteau's appointment, but was in essence correct because not a single supervisor moved to support him during that meeting.

In this second time the item appeared before the supervisors, Scott did vote in favor of the appointment, saying that by the time the board considers PCs, "they've already gone through whatever vetting process the political parties go through."

"If the chair of that political party has no objection, that has an effect on me in terms of my vote," he said.

Bronson and Christy joined Scott on the prevailing side of the vote to appoint.

Arizona law on PC appointments

ARS 16-821. County committee; vacancy in office of precinct committeeman

A. At the primary election the members of a political party entitled to representation pursuant to section 16-804 residing in each precinct shall choose one of their number as a county precinct committeeman, and the members shall choose one additional precinct committeeman for each one hundred twenty-five voters or major fraction thereof registered in the party in the precinct as reported pursuant to section 16-168, subsection G on January 2 of the year in which the general election is held. The whole number of precinct committeemen of a political party shall constitute the county committee of the party.

B. The board of supervisors upon the recommendation of the county chairman, or the recommendation of a committee designated in the bylaws of the county committee for that purpose, shall determine when a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman. If a vacancy exists, the vacancy shall be filled by the board of supervisors from a list of names submitted by the county chairman of the appropriate political party. Only a precinct committeeman elected at the primary election prior to the date of a state or county committee organizing meeting shall be permitted to vote at such meeting. The criteria used to establish when a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman shall be as established in section 38-291.

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