The revelation remains a controversy a year later with some members accusing the Chamber of covering up the discovery.
William Daniel Johnson joined the group in 2007. The Southern Poverty Law Center disclosed that Johnson had proposed in 1985 a constitutional amendment to revoke the citizenship of every non-White person and deport them from the country. In 2010, Johnson was a chairman of the American Freedom Party, which promotes White nationalism and supremacy.
“I didn’t know about Johnson’s reputation, and I was appalled, shocked and very disgusted to find out,” said Robert Yasui, a former Japanese Chamber of Commerce board member. “I did independent research and found that Johnson was the highest profile white supremacist leader in the western United States.”
Yasui along with former California Assemblyman George Nakano have been outspoken that the Chamber did not disclose Johnson’s background and have resigned from the Board.
Kitty Sankey, the Chamber’s current president, said Johnson had performed some legal work for her relatives.
“He spoke Japanese and he helped write a will. I did not know that he was a member of the American Freedom Party. He was no longer our attorney once I found out. Mr. Johnson was a nice guy. That’s why we were shocked.”
Sankey denies there was a coverup and says the information was disclosed during a general membership meeting once Johnson’s activities became known.
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