Recent political donations made by JZ Knight to the local Thurston County Democratic party have once again caught the attention of Knight’s detractors.
Knight’s political contributions previously came under fire following the release of a video that showed the Yelm channeler making controversial statements.
According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, Knight recently made two donations to the Thurston County Democratic Central Committee: $50,000 on Feb. 25 and $15,000 on March 24. She also donated $500 to the committee in October 2013.
The Freedom Foundation, a think tank in Olympia, pointed out the donations in a press release sent out Tuesday. The Foundation posted videos of Knight making disparaging comments about Mexicans and gays after the release of a similarly controversial video by a former student, in late 2012.
A voicemail left for the Thurston County Democratic Party weren’t returned by press time.
The Freedom Foundation also alleged that Knight is “currently under investigation for hate speech by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
RSE released a statement disputing the accuracy of the allegedly bigoted videos.
“Court documents are available for public inspection in Thurston County in the case against Virginia Coverdale and in the New Zealand High Court in Auckland in the case against David McCarthy,” the statement reads. “JZK, Inc. received admissions by both defendants that the videos they disseminated in 2012 had first been edited. Virginia hired a video editor to create what she wanted. David did the editing himself to create the impressions he wanted, including altering audio tracks from the original video recordings.”
Steve Klein, RSE’s event services manager, said while Knight is political, Ramtha is not.
“Ramtha is not JZ, regardless of what people think,” he said. “JZ Knight is and has been a progressive liberal democrat. If republicans cannot accept that JZ Knight is a democrat and supports democratic candidates and causes of her choice, they’re going to vote republican anyway so they’re just going to have to deal with it.”
Klein said Thurston County Democrats had expressed to him they are “not going to disenfranchise anybody that wants to participate and support the candidate of their choice,” including Knight.
A spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center told the Nisqually Valley News they would be releasing more information about the matter in the coming weeks, but couldn’t comment further.
Donations Knight made to several Democratic candidates in October 2012 came under fire after Virginia Coverdale — a former student of Knight’s Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment, who is currently in litigation with the school — released a YouTube video showing Knight making disparaging remarks about Catholics, Jews and gays while purportedly channeling 35,000-year-old warrior Ramtha.
The school contends the statements were taken out of context.
In the October 2012 first round of giving, Knight and RSE donated $3,600 to state Senate candidate Bruce Lachney, $3,600 to Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero, $1,800 to Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens, $3,500 to U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, and $900 to President Barack Obama.
Knight also donated $70,000 to the state Democratic Party.
Lachney, Romero and Heck all donated the money they received from Knight. Romero vowed to refuse future contributions from Knight. The state Democratic Party also donated the money received from Knight.
State Republicans criticized a fundraiser held for Democratic Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall held this October before her election, and called on Hall to return the money she raised.
The event was organized by Klein, and Knight sent an email encouraging people to attend the fundraiser. Knight also donated $900 to Hall in November.
The state Republican Party called Knight a “bigot” in a news release because of the comments she made in the YouTube video.
Following the incident, Klein criticized what he said was an effort by the state Republican party to disallow people from participating in the democratic process by supporting a candidate of their choice.
A statement released by RSE’s publicist at the time said, “JZ Knight is a private citizen and, like all Americans, has the right to support the candidates of her choice. JZ Knight is very concerned about the choices in this election nationally, statewide, and locally. She supports the rights of women, the poor, the elderly, the middle class, and the environment. JZ has publicly urged hundreds of thousands of people on the importance of voting this year, and she supports an honest and open election where all citizens have the right to vote.”