LaRouche’s Sore Loser Cult
Many reading this will have already heard last week’s news that Albuquerque police arrested Solomon Peña, a former Republican candidate for the New Mexico State House, for orchestrating a series of shootings targeting Democrats after his unsuccessful first political campaign. Peña, 39, insisted that he actually won in 2022, despite getting crushed (73–26%) in a safely Democratic district. The mainstream media has acknowledged that Peña was a “LaRouchie,” but so far has apparently neglected to explore that angle or express curiosity about the staying power of the Lyndon LaRouche cult after its leader died in 2019.
In 1978, Debra Hanania-Freeman launched a campaign to unseat Parren Mitchell (D-MD), Maryland’s first Black Congressman. After receiving less than 11% of the vote, she sent a telegram to Mitchell: “Given the fact that I have won your 7th district seat I would like to meet with you at your earliest convenience in the interest of a smooth transition.” When this didn’t work, she challenged the results in court. Freeman, according to the New York Times, “charged voting machine irregularities, fraud, violence, intimidation and ‘dirty tricks.’” In the years to come, Lyndon LaRouche made Freeman his running mate and national spokesperson.
In 1986, Art Hoffmann ran for Congress as a “LaRouche Democrat” in Orange County, California and came pretty close to clinching the nomination (52–48%). The LaRouchites didn’t accept the results of the primary election or a “tedious recount.” It took six weeks for an Orange County judge to dismiss their evidence-free accusations of “voter fraud” and “ballot stuffing.” Later that year, an investigation led by the Attorney General of California reportedly “found a ‘complex organizational conspiracy’ in which political supporters of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr. were said to have acted illegally to place a referendum question on the Nov. 4 ballot.” The failed referendum proposed to quarantine AIDS victims.
As noted by others on Twitter and in the media, Solomon Peña was clearly affiliated with the far-right LaRouche Political Action Committee (LPAC), which he donated $5000 to last year. According to the organization, Peña “brought LaRouchePAC’s policies to Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as traveling to Trump rallies around the country to spread the word.” The homepage of his campaign website linked to a “Citizen’s Primer” by LPAC: “First Principles for Taking the Nation Back.” (“Our Republic faces the greatest threat to its existence since the Civil War, and possibly ever. The preservation of our Republic will depend heavily on the emerging political realignment of the United States…”) Last summer, he tweeted at the New Mexico governor to read LaRouche, and reportedly once posted a photo of himself tabling for LPAC.
“Is this our first LaRouche mass shooter?” wondered Robert Skvarla, a researcher and writer who has kept tabs on the arguably resurgent LaRouche cult. Hours later, the official “LaRouche Organization,” established by LaRouche’s wife almost two years after he died, reminded its social media followers that it disavowed LPAC in early 2021, ostensibly proving that Peña had nothing to do with the “movement.” But are the two factions of the LaRouche cult so different after all?
The LaRouche Organization represents the Schiller Institute, essentially a think tank, and the Executive Intelligence Review, a website that started as LaRouche’s weekly publication. The Organization is led by Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who married LaRouche and founded the Schiller Institute. Another leader of her “movement” is Diane Sare, who is also a self-proclaimed victim of election rigging in 2022.
Sare challenged Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer as a third party candidate and officially received ~25,000 votes (0.5%). At one point, she was reported to have over 50,000, but still less than 1%. On Election Day, Liam Murphy, also known as “Space LaRouche,” a young LaRouchite who apparently worked on Sare’s campaign, declared, “Diane received over 6 million votes! They are suppressing her because they know she will end the fed.” Schumer, who got 4.7 million, “stole at least 3 million votes from Diane!!!” The following day, Diane Sare went viral on Twitter. “Vote totals continue to drop today,” she reported 48 hours after the election.
In the coming week, Diane Sare and Solomon Peña made announcements inspired by Donald Trump launching his 2024 campaign. “Trump just announced for 2024. I stand with him,” tweeted Peña. “I never conceded my HD14 race. Now researching my options.” In a follow-up tweet, Peña linked to LaRouchePAC’s immediate endorsement of Trump 2024. The following day, Diane Sare shared her intentions to run for U.S. Senate again by challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) next year.
Sare made her announcement just before going live with Colonel Richard H. Black, an ultra-conservative former state Senator from Virginia, and his co-host, Jon Tigges. The latter was arrested in 2021 as part of a right-wing mob that disrupted a Loudoun County Public Schools (LCPS) board meeting to protest the district’s “promotion of Critical Race Theory and transgenderism.” Earlier that year, Black got heated while addressing the LCPS, which he accused of having a “dark history,” including “teaching children to hate others because of their skin color,” “forcing them to lie about other kids’ gender” and creating an “enemy’s list to punish opponents of Critical Race Theory!”
Richard “Dick” Black, a former career military officer, served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 1998–2006 and the Virginia Senate from 2012–2020. The Washington Post reported in 2014 that he is “known for a conservative grass-roots following and a history of inflammatory remarks about social issues.” That includes “not taking a position for or against marital rape” (2014), claiming that polygamy is “more natural” than homosexuality (2013), and alleging “there is a tendency to encourage homosexual activity” within public schools (2005).
In 2015, Colonel Dick Black dismissed his “inexperienced” Democratic challenger as just a “doctor” and a “mother,” but warned that she “supports selling late term abortions for bigger body parts.” A year later, he described Beloved by Toni Morrison as “so vile — so profoundly filthy” and “moral sewage.” According to reporter Molly Redden, “He has argued that abortion is a worse evil than slavery. And once, to demonstrate why libraries should block pornography on their computers, Black invited a TV reporter to film him using a library terminal to watch violent rape porn.”
Diane Sare and Dick Black led a “LaRouchePAC Zoom Meeting for Long Island and Staten Island” during the summer of 2020. A month later, Jose Vega, one of the Sare staffers and “LaRouche movement activists” who heckled Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez last September, moderated a live interview with Colonel Black about the upcoming “coup against Trump.”
TheDonald.win, “an online forum favored by some of the most zealous and militant Trump supporters,” hosted the “AMA” (Ask Me Anything) interview. This was over a month before the 2020 election. When it comes to the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, according to Justin Hendrix, “The Donald is notable because of the sheer amount of detailed coordination, planning, and logistics it hosted.”
In her November 2022 livestream with Richard Black and Jon Tigges, lifetime LaRouche associate Diane Sare suggested that the deep state “terror campaign” against her was just a warm-up for 2024 against Trump. “It’s rigged from top to bottom in every different dimension that you can possibly imagine,” she said.
A couple days later, Sare did another livestream, this time with the crypto-fascist Nova Resistência (NR) in Brazil, the ideological leader of which is the notorious Russian “philosopher” Aleksandr Dugin. This fringe but militant Brazilian group has also associated with Alain Soral, a far-right French ideologue who adopted the Nazi-like “quenelle” as an antisemitic gesture, which the NR apparently considers a “symbol of resistance.”
Later in November, Dick Black did an interview with Diane Sare’s staffers who heckled AOC to kick off a series of “LaRouche interventions” targeting Democrats. At the time, it seemed that the LaRouchites were trying to lead a fake “anti-war movement,” but in retrospect it is obvious that the whole point was to undermine Democrats ahead of the midterm elections. The LaRouchite “anti-war” protests stopped after Election Day, until this past week, perhaps hoping to distract and move on from Solomon Peña.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the Russian oligarch who founded the infamous private military company Wagner Group, also established the “Foundation to Battle Injustice” (FBI) in early 2021, a self-described human rights organization concerned with drawing attention to “racism, police brutality and political harassment in the United States.” On December 1, 2022, the Russian FBI held a press conference featuring Diane Sare on “The end of US democracy: election fraud deprives Americans of the right to vote.”
Less than a week later, Helga Zepp-LaRouche appeared on Russian TV for a 20 minute interview by Vladimir Solovyov, a notorious Kremlin propagandist. To start, he praised her “revolutionary” point of view, and asked “what should be done, in order to save the world?” Meanwhile, Diane Sare’s staffers published a clip from their interview with Colonel Richard Black on “What’s Really Behind the Green New Deal?” Less than two months earlier, Black also did an interview with Solovyov.
Harley Schlanger, a former spokesperson for Lyndon LaRouche, is another leading representative of the LaRouche Organization, who also participated in the Russian FBI’s December 2022 press conference. Schlanger has a blog hosted by the Russian International Affairs Council, which the New York Times has described as “a research organization close to the Russian government.”
Ten days ago, shortly before Solomon Peña’s arrest, Schlanger spoke about the deep state’s “Satanic Commitment to Depopulation” with SGT Report, which according to the Times has “posted videos promoting QAnon ideology.” According to Schlanger, “We’re up against a pretty powerful group of individuals. Once you realize that, what’s the worst they can do? They can kill you. Well they’re going to kill you anyway with their policies.”
“Help Us Defeat the Color Revolution,” declared LaRouchePAC in November 2020, which enthusiastically joined the effort to “Stop the Steal” after Donald Trump lost to Joe Biden. Also that month, the Schiller Institute convened an “International Investigative Commission on Truth in Elections” that heard “expert testimony” from Harley Schlanger, Richard Black, and others, such as Leah Hoopes, a fraudulent elector for Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, according to whom LaRouche and Trump “would have been great allies.”
In December, presumably anticipating a split with LPAC, the LaRouche Organization was formed. The Executive Intelligence Review figured, “President Trump’s best approach to stop the coup is to exonerate LaRouche, forcing the truth to light about the British Empire’s historical effort to destroy the American System…” On January 4, two days before “patriots” stormed the Capitol, LaRouchePAC beckoned them to “Win the Second American Revolution With President Trump.”
A month later, LPAC declared “LaRouche’s Policies Must Guide Trump’s Takeover of [the] Republican Party.” It issued the following “marching orders” to LaRouchites: “Do battle for the Republican Party; force the traitors and the ‘weak ones’ out, and restore it to the tradition of Abraham Lincoln.” By the end of February, Helga Zepp-LaRouche sent a cease and desist letter to LPAC. She objected to the above order and accused the organization of “focusing almost entirely… on issues that were in line with the policies of Donald Trump.”
LaRouchites used to be known for depicting Barack Obama as Hitler. In the first weeks of Joe Biden’s presidency, LPAC LaRouchites dubbed him “Mussolini Joe.” In May, LaRouchePAC published its latest “marching orders,” in fact a petition, that concluded: “Donald Trump must be free to lead this movement. His enemies in our justice, military, and intelligence services must be exposed and jailed. We, the undersigned, pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to this task…” A year later, LPAC co-sponsored an “Election Integrity Summit” in Detroit, at which its representative suggested “it’s time we declare war on this enemy and shut down these intelligence-community-run operations.”
Enter Solomon Peña, or “USAnationalist” on the LPAC website. That page was created by April 2022 and deleted in January 2023. In December, he tweeted, “Everyone in the NM government who helped overthrow Trump are the active treasonists who must be placed in Guantanamo Bay Cuba for natural life. Once they are gone I can work on rebuilding Albuquerque.”
Earlier that year, Peña launched his campaign for the New Mexico House of Representatives against a longtime Democratic incumbent, Miguel Garcia, who has been in office since 1997. Garcia hadn’t faced a Republican challenger since 2014, who received just 30% of the vote. Solomon Peña’s 26% was average for a Republican in that district. Technically, he was the weakest challenger since 2008, but he was also the ultimate tough guy candidate. “I dissent,” Peña tweeted over 24 hours after polls closed. “I am the MAGA king.” Soon he challenged a stranger on the internet, “I live downtown. Come get me!” Garcia had reportedly “asked a judge to bar Pena from running, citing his 2008 conviction in a string of burglaries and the fact that he spent several years in prison.”
In mid-November, following Donald Trump launching his 2024 campaign, Solomon Peña announced, “I never conceded my HD 14 race. Now researching my options.” In response to someone commenting, “This is pathetic,” Peña belatedly fired back, “Fuck MAGA? Fuk u, u effing bitch! Latinos para Trump!” The following day, someone opened fire on the home of the newly elected Bernalillo County Commissioner. Within a week, two more shootings were reported, at the former campaign office of the newly elected Attorney General of New Mexico and the home of the outgoing Bernalillo County Commissioner.
In early January 2023, a fourth shooting occurred outside the home of a state Senator, following by another incident “in the area of a downtown law office” where a different state Senator works. The drive-by shootings all targeted Democrats. 21-year-old José Luis Trujillo, one of the alleged shooters, donated $5,155 to Peña’s campaign, and apparently another $4,000 in his mother’s name, which the Albuquerque Journal tells us “made up nearly 40% of the $23,660 in Pena’s campaign coffers.” Trujillo was arrested driving Peña’s car after the fourth shooting targeting state Senator Linda Lopez. According to Searchlight New Mexico,
One bullet was fired so low, she told police, that “sheetrock dust was blown onto” the face of her sleeping 10-year-old daughter. Less than an hour later, a Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office deputy initiated a traffic stop just five miles from Lopez’s house. Deputy J Skroch, as he is identified in court documents, had pulled over José Trujillo, who was driving a Nissan Maxima registered to Pena. Inside the car, police reported finding more than 800 fentanyl pills, a wad of cash, an assault rifle and a Glock handgun equipped with a drum magazine. Drum magazines significantly expand the amount of ammunition a handgun holds. Trujillo now faces federal charges stemming from that arrest.
As police worked to connect the incidents, they obtained a search warrant for [his father] Demetrio Trujillo’s cell phone. According to police, it was filled with text messages from Pena listing the exact addresses for each of the four elected officials whose homes were attacked. They said it also contained photos: one of a Glock handgun with a drum magazine, one of José Trujillo pointing a gun into the air and biting into a Whataburger, and another of Pena and Trujillo posing together for a selfie.
In court documents, police say a confidential witness with “personal and intimate knowledge of the crimes” informed them that Pena had offered Demetrio and two unnamed brothers a total of $500 for the first shooting. The money was divided among the three, the witness told police. The witness also told police that Pena participated in the shooting at Lopez’s home, but his gun jammed.
Solomon Peña kept quiet for several days after Trujillo’s arrest. On January 9, he published one of his last tweets: “When we finally defeat the rigged NM elections, oh, the hero I will be! MAGA nation 4ever!” The LaRouchites are now trying to distance themselves from Peña, but he is one of them, whether they like it or not.