LaRouche -

Obstruction of the Law

 June 14, 2010


LaRouche et al. can be expected to try to undermine, sabotage, and exploit any legal hearing, based on a track record going back over 30 years.

There are two chief components to the LaRouche organization’s lawlessness—violence and deceit (the latter including especially obstruction of justice and fraud).

Salient examples:


April 1973: LaRouche announces to plenary meeting of National Committee of National Caucus of Labor Committees that the organization is going to begin breaking up Communist Party meetings, declaring that there is “only one thing on the agenda” (the Communist Party’s supposed attacks on Labor Committee members) and, if there is resistance to that agenda item, the organization is going to attack the recalcitrant CP members.

“Defense squads” are created for this purpose, armed with illegal numchuks (nunchukas) and pugil sticks.

For the next several months, the NCLC breaks into CP meetings and beats people up.

At the end of Operation Mop-Up, a related campaign, Operation Counterpunch, continues on the West Coast in a series of assaults on leftists in various groups.

After Mop-Up ends, the NCLC begins to target “black nationalist” gangs like Imamu Amiri Baraka’s Simbas in Newark and the Mau Mau in Boston. Dennis King’s book, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism (New York: Doubleday, 1989), describes one such violent scene:

At Harvard the NCLC security staff set a trap. They called a meeting, armed themselves, and waited for members of the Boston-based Mau Mau to filter into the room. "A signal was given," said a former NCLC member. "Suddenly a sea of nunchukas rose in the air and came down." One of the Mau Mau tried to pull a gun; NCLC members wrestled him to the floor. "They beat the shit out of him with sticks, then one of our guys stood over him with a shotgun while he lay there bleeding. The rest of the Mau Mau beat a retreat."

May-June 1973: LaRouche announces that the NCLC will henceforth be recruiting youth from ghetto gangs in New York City, Newark, etc. Slogans will include “Don’t think small, take it all”—the premise being, rather than rob your neighborhood grocery store, take over the banks. The youth movement will be called the Revolutionary Youth Movement, or RYM. One of the gangs the LaRouche group focused on recruiting was the Outlaws, whose leader, Tea, said that if RYM was "ever ready to fight the government and pick up guns, the Outlaws will be right behind them” (as quoted in King’s book,

September 1973: As part of their anti-Baraka campaign, members of the New York and Newark Labor Committees enter a Newark, NJ City Council meeting and start a riot (which they later call a “police riot”). Numbers of them are arrested; LaRouche Chief of Staff Konstandinos or Kostas Kalimtgis (“Gus Axios”) is pictured on the front page of the New York Daily News being grabbed by the hair by a policeman.

January 1974: LaRouche announces a CIA/KGB plot to brainwash close associates so that they will be “programmed” to assassinate him.

In order to “deprogram” them, LaRouche has members of the National Executive Committee locked up in rooms and held by members of his “Security” staff.

Out of this arises, inter alia, the Alice Weitzman kidnapping affair (see citations below) and the psychotic breakdowns of several LaRouche associates, at least one of whom (named omitted but available) was taken to Bellevue Hospital in January 1974, insisting that he had been programmed to kill LaRouche.

Alice Weitzman kidnapping: Alice Weitzman was a member of the NCLC in New York City who doubted the brainwashing story; she was held in an apartment on Cabrini Boulevard in New York City’s Washington Heights area (near Broadway/178th Street) to “deprogram” her from her rejection.

She was able to drop a note out a window to the sidewalk below.

Ultimately the New York City police arrived. Upshot: police arrested a number of NCLC members (including one who is still a member, Edward Spannaus) for kidnapping. Weitzman refused to press charges, however.

See Montgomery, Paul L. (January 20, 1974), "How a Radical-Left Group Moved Toward Savagery", The New York Times,

Mountain Lakes, N.J. arrest and trial: In December 1973, three members of the NCLC, including LaRouche Chief of Staff Kalimtgis/Axios and LaRouche “Security staff” member Elijah C. “Zeke” Boyd (a former Black Panther Party “Defense Minister” out of Baltimore), were arrested in Mountain Lakes, N.J. with guns in the trunk of their car. Their 1975 trial resulted in two convictions (later overturned on appeal); at it, Kalimtgis testified that the three had been on their way to meet a fourth NCLC member who was later identified as the owner of the upstate New York farm at which the LaRouche organization held its “Officers’ Training School.”

“Officers’ Training School,” Summer 1974: LaRouche’s Security staff set up a paramilitary training camp for leaders of the organization, situated in Upstate New York on the farm of a member whose name I omit because he may have left org. In addition to meandering lectures about military tactics and history, there were weapons training and psychological attack groups to break down members, destroy their egos, and then recreate them in the mold of effective fighters. “OTS” was disbanded after one of the members of the National Executive Committee went to LaRouche and complained that it constituted psychological torture. LaRouche feared a revolt on the part of others in the leadership, so ended the training.

Dalto, the Teamsters, and the Mob/1970s: Ken Dalto, the National Committee member and then National Executive Committee member who led LaRouche’s Midwest region, developed close ties to labor racketeers and organized-crime figures starting in about 1977 or 1978—such figures as Rolland McMaster, Frank Fratto, John Cody, Carlos Marcello, the Provenzano family (of Teamster boss Anthony “Tony Pro” Provenzano) and mob hitman Frank Sheeran (the last two implicated in the death of Jimmy Hoffa). See King’s book,, and also with cocaine dictator Manuel Noriega, with whom the LaRouche organization organized a so-called Amphictyonic Conference to launch a manic propaganda attack against the United States (see, article from Loudon Times-Mirror by Bryan Chitwood).

Dalto was named to the National Executive Committee by LaRouche in 1979, just before LaRouche announced his 1980 presidential campaign as a Democrat. Presumably, Dalto’s connections were expected to be useful in that regard. At the end of 1979 and beginning of 1980, most of the individuals named in the preceding paragraph came through the New York National office to “advise” on the campaign.

In the fall of 1979, most of the Chicago and Detroit locals of the NCLC, including their leaders, and including Dalto, were deployed to New Hampshire to run LaRouche’s campaign in the New Hampshire Democratic primary.

1980 Presidential Campaign/New Hampshire 1980: In the course of LaRouche’s presidential campaign in the Democratic primary in New Hampshire, which started in September 1979 and culminated with the primary on February 26, 1980, Gus Axios (Konstandinos Kalimtgis), Ken Dalto, and Lyndon LaRouche ran a series of operations to violate Federal Election Commission (FEC) law, which restricted the amount of spending a campaign could do in the state. Through the mechanism of raising large sums of money as loans to New Benjamin Franklin House and other entities, it was possible to create a flood of money being wired or carried into New Hampshire which was not attributable to the LaRouche campaign and not recorded anywhere.

In that same period LaRouche associates, most likely directed by Dalto, took a large cash loan from one George Kattar, described to the members who were in the know as a mafia loan shark and referred to among the members who were in the know as “Jaws.”

The large sums of money borrowed from Jaws were used in ways that can never be traced in New Hampshire, as “walkaround money,” it was sometimes said, or to “buy a judge,” as it was sometimes said.

In order to repay this sum, members who were involved in the Finance Office, Legal, etc., were briefed that if it were not repaid, Jaws would “break our legs.” Every Thursday morning, a number of members would gather in the Finance Office (at the West 58th Street office in Manhattan), and fan out to the local banks—Chemical, Chase, Citibank—where various organization-related accounts were held, to pull out cash in small bills. They would meet back at the Finance Office—the total take every week had to be $17,000 in cash, and it would be ferried to New Hampshire by plane by a member of LaRouche’s Security Staff, who would pick up the cash in the Finance Office.

As for LaRouche’s presidential campaigns in general, and the legal cases associated with them, see

LaRouche engaged in campaign finance fraud in multiple Presidential elections. Administrative actions by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) resulted in determinations that he should repay campaign matching funds improperly obtained from the Federal government, and also pay fines. The FEC, although it has law enforcement powers, concentrates on civil rather than criminal actions in order to avoid the perception of attempting to exert a chilling effect on political speech and activity. If the LaRouche organization had committed fraud on this scale involving anything other than Federal matching funds, its members would have been criminally indicted. At least 13 civil cases involving LaRouche and the FEC were heard.   

1984 Presidential campaign: The 1984 LaRouche presidential campaign was a watershed—it marked the entry of the LaRouche apparatus into another level of financial crimes. During the course of 1984, members of “phone teams” (fundraisers) of the LaRouche organization in Boston and New York—at least, probably elsewhere as well—began to commit credit card fraud by adding to credit cards more than the contact had authorized.

Indeed, an internal memo was written about this problem by someone who worked with the LaRouche organization’s Finance Office and Legal Department, but the executive committee allowed the practice to continue.

Ultimately, based on complaints, an investigation was commenced by the U.S. Attorney in Boston, Massachusetts—William Weld. When the grand jury subpoenaed a number of LaRouche followers to appear before the grand jury, three who were involved in fundraising in Boston did not show up. These three were Rick Sanders, Mike Gelber, and Chuck Park.

Instead, they left the country. (Years later, they returned, pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice, and each served a year in Federal prison.)

It is thought that before they left the country to avoid the grand jury subpoena, the three traveled to Leesburg, Virginia, where Lyndon LaRouche made his home; if that is so, the motive would presumably have been to consult with LaRouche and his advisers.

For this and other reasons identified below in the Wikipedia article on LaRouche criminal trials, charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice were brought against LaRouche followers starting in 1986.

1986 Raid Against LaRouche Headquarters

A raid on the Leesburg, Virginia on a number of LaRouche organization offices, carried out on October 6, 1986, by 400 Federal, state, and local agents, including the FBI, resulted in the Federal government acquiring large numbers of files from the LaRouche offices.

It also resulted in LaRouche sending a telegram to President Reagan declaring that he would defend himself against the raid—that is to say, would resist any arrest attempt by the Federal agents (see reference below in Wikipedia article on LaRouche criminal trials). Law enforcement authorities took seriously LaRouche's threats of violence and brought an armored car on the raid just in case.

Boston Trial

As a consequence of the Leesburg raid, Federal charges were brought against the top members of LaRouche’s “Security” team in the United States: Jeffrey Steinberg, Michele Steinberg, and Paul Goldstein, among others, and LaRouche “security adviser” Roy Frankhouser. Indicted later was Edward Spannaus, along with various members of the LaRouche organization in Boston. The Steinbergs and Spannaus remain members of the LaRouche organization. Finally, Lyndon LaRouche himself was indicted in July 1987, based on his own testimony before the Boston grand jury.

Roy Frankhouser was convicted in December 1987 and was sent to Federal prison.

The other “LaRouche defendants,” including LaRouche, were tried in Boston in 1988—the trial ending  without a verdict when LaRouche delaying tactics stretched the trial out interminably and thereby made it impossible for the jury to continue to sit. However, the fact that Gelber, Park, and Sanders, who were indicted in absentia, subsequently pleaded guilty and served time in Federal prison, suggests what the verdicts would have been for LaRouche and all his fellow defendants, had the facts been presented fully to the jury.

Alexandria, Virginia Trial

In October 1988, a grand jury that had been called in 1987 by the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia indicted LaRouche, Spannaus, William Wertz, Dennis Small, Michael Billington, and others on mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud. LaRouche was also indicted on a count of conspiracy to defraud the Internal Revenue Service (the U.S. Federal entity that collects income taxes).

In December 1988, LaRouche and all of his co-defendants were convicted on all counts. In January 1989, they were sentenced to varying terms in Federal prison, with LaRouche’s prison sentence being by far the longest, at 15 years.

State Trials

Almost immediately thereafter, a number of LaRouche organization members were tried in state courts:

Rochelle Ascher, Virginia State court, convicted 1989, jury sentence of 86 years reduced by judge to 10

Robert Primack, New York State court, convicted 1989, sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison

Marielle Kronberg, New York State court, convicted on one count, acquitted on one 1989; sentenced to 5 years’ probation

Lynne Speed, New York convicted on one count, acquitted on one 1989; initially sentenced to six months in prison; sentence reduced on appeal to 5 years’ probation

Michael Billington, Virginia State court, 1989-90; convicted; jury sentence of 77 years let stand by judge

Martha Quinde, Virginia State court, pleaded guilty 1990; served one month in prison

Richard Welsh, Virginia State court, pleaded guilty, sentenced to 12 months in prison, served no time

Donald Phau, Virginia State court, sentenced to 25 years in prison

Laurence Hecht, Virginia State court, sentenced to 33 years in prison

Paul Gallagher, Virginia State court, sentenced to 34 years in prison

Anita Gallagher, Virginia State court, sentenced to 36 years in prison


Useful links:

For an overview of the LaRouche organization:

Dennis King, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism

Molly Hammett Kronberg, former member, Pawns of His Grandiosity: Psychological and Social Control in the LaRouche Cult


The LaRouche trials:


On cult characteristics

Montgomery, Paul L. (January 20, 1974), "How a Radical-Left Group Moved Toward Savagery", The New York Times,

Also see the Howard Blum/Paul Montgomery series in the New York Times:

Blum, Howard (October 7, 1979), "U.S. Labor Party: Cult Surrounded by Controversy", New York Times,

Montgomery, Paul L. (October 8, 1979), "One Man Leads U.S. Labor Party on His Erratic Path", New York Times

Ray, Linda, Breaking the Silence: An Ex-LaRouche Follower Tells Her Story,


On violence and cult beliefs

 John Mintz, Washington Post: