This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, February 19, 2002. Click here to order last night's entire transcript.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN: Can the NAACP play partisan politics without paying Uncle Sam? Critics say the non-profit has no business attacking Republicans if it's going to claim tax-exempt status.
Joining us from Denver, syndicated radio talk show host Ken Hamblin. Here in the studio, Civil Rights activist Lawrence Guyot.
Lawrence, first to you. Is the NAACP doing anything that could risk losing its tax-exempt status?
LAWRENCE GUYOT, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: Absolutely not. It deals with issues that impact upon all Americans — not NAACP members, not Democrats, not Republicans. Who sits on the Supreme Court is a national issue. No Supreme Court Justice has ever made decisions only for Republicans, only for NAACP members. It's ironic. The attempt now to destroy the NAACP is consistent with an earlier history...
VAN SUSTEREN: There was an op-ed piece which has brought this discussion to the forefront. Do you see this as an effort to destroy the NAACP?
GUYOT: Absolutely. If you notice, there was an attempt to organize a group to fight against the tax-exemption of the Christian Crusade. I was invited to join that group. I said, "No, no, no, because if you succeed in that, then it'll be the Catholics, then it'll be the Baptists, then it'll be the NAACP, ACLU, ad infinitum."
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, let's get Ken Hamblin in. Ken Hamblin, is this an effort to destroy the NAACP, this question, at least, in some people's minds, about the tax-exempt status of the NAACP?
KEN HAMBLIN, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The gentleman speaks like a true Civil Rights activist from a partisan perspective. Any disagreement is considered as a direct attack to the left ventricle of the NAACP to destroy it. The NAACP is a left-wing, partisan organization. Once upon a time in America, it did wonderful things from before the bench. It's now a sub-directory of the Democratic National Committee, and for that reason it should lose its tax-exemption.
GUYOT: The NAACP is as American as the flag.
HAMBLIN: Sir, I never said it was not American.
GUYOT: Its whole history has been, how do we equalize every segment of life, how do we remove every indication of slavery from American life?
VAN SUSTEREN: All right...
GUYOT: That's why it was created. That's what it's doing today.
VAN SUSTEREN: Here's my question for both of you — let me go first to you, Lawrence — is, this tax-exempt status actually governed by the tax code, and it says, basically, that if you want tax-exempt status, you can't be out there pushing a particular candidate.
GUYOT: No, that's right. You can't...
VAN SUSTEREN: But it says you can listen to them, you can invite them to speak, you can do all that. Is that where you see the line?
GUYOT: I know Julian Bond personally. He and I were on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He's very thoughtful, pragmatic. He knows the rules. He plays by the rules. They support candidates. They fight issues. We support some issues. We don't support others.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, tell me where this line is because I think it's a sort of fuzzy line. Where is the line?
GUYOT: The line has been made very clear by the campaign finance debate. If the NAACP came out and said, "Look, we want you to oppose this candidate," they've crossed the line.
VAN SUSTEREN: That's over the line. Let me ask Ken.
GUYOT: They have never done it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Ken, where's the line?
GUYOT: They've never done it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Where's the line for you? What can a tax-exempt group not do and still maintain the status?
HAMBLIN: You know, well, I don't want to play this silly piddly game. Everyone knows the NAACP is a partisan organization. Everyone knows.
VAN SUSTEREN: But that's not the issue, though. Wait a second, Ken. Listen...
HAMBLIN: Everyone knows that black churches also endorse and encourage their parishioners to vote a certain way. Separation of church and state is a loud cry when it goes against them.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, listen, we don't have those churches here that you're talking about. We're talking about the NAACP, Ken, and the question is whether or not there's a risk it could lose its tax-exempt status if it goes over the line, in terms of violating what it can do and what it can't do.
HAMBLIN: Greta, I think it's evident they've crossed the line.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, give me an example. Give me an example, so that I can at least apply it to the statute I have in my hand.
HAMBLIN: I can't give you a date. But the bottom line essentially, is this...
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm not asking you for a date. Give me an idea of where...
HAMBLIN: I'm trying to give it to you! The bottom line is essentially this. Everyone, whether you're talking about North Philadelphia or Harlem, New York, understands that the NAACP is a partisan Democrat organization that encourages from the pulpit, from the schoolyard or wherever its voice is raised, to vote Democrat. Now come on! Why am I here if you don't know that?
GUYOT: I've heard Julian say over and over and over again, "We support this issue. We encourage people to come out and vote." I've never heard him say, "The NAACP is opposed to this candidate."
VAN SUSTEREN: Didn't he invite a little bit of this problem, though, Lawrence, because he did make a crack saying that Vice President Cheney — he had made some reference of putting him sort of in line with the Taliban. That didn't serve the NAACP very well.
HAMBLIN: Let's be very clear. By that time, the vice president was the vice president. So he wasn't saying, "Let's go have another election."
VAN SUSTEREN: No. But I'm saying that it wasn't a particularly shrewd. It wasn't a good remark to make. And it sort of invited, at least...
HAMBLIN: You know, you're not going to get me to agree with that.
GUYOT: He was no longer a candidate. He was the sitting vice president. And in America, that means he's subject to open, robust dialogue.
VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I'm not disputing that. I'm just saying that just didn't serve the cause very much, in the sense that you didn't make a lot of friends by doing that.
GUYOT: Again, America...
HAMBLIN: Excuse me...
GUYOT: Mr. Hamblin and I disagree, but thank God, we're in America, so he can say what he wants until he starts a fire. I can say what I want until I start a fire.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Ken, quick. You've got 15 seconds to respond.
HAMBLIN: Quickly, what I want to say is this isn't about whether the NAACP or Kweisi Mfume are mean to George Bush or Vice President Cheney. It is about a long history of partisan politics. And everyone knows that.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right...
GUYOT: A long, excellent history of fighting to remove the vestiges of slavery and make equality a reality in America!
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Lawrence, you get the last word. Lawrence Guyot, Ken Hamblin, thank you both for joining me.
Content and Programming Copyright 2002 Fox News Network, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Transcription Copyright 2002 eMediaMillWorks, Inc. (f/k/a Federal Document Clearing House, Inc.), which takes sole responsibility for the accuracy of the transcription. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is granted to the user of this material except for the user's personal or internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may infringe upon Fox News Network, Inc.'s and eMediaMillWorks, Inc.'s copyrights or other proprietary rights or interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of litigation.