The BIAW: militia funding, orca killers

So… what could possibly connect the dire plight of Puget Sound orcas with the right-wing extremist militia movement? Well, as Dave Neiwert reveals in a fascinating and disturbing post at Orcinus: the BIAW.

Last week the Building Industry Association of Washington (BIAW) filed a 60-day notice declaring their intent to sue the government over the endangered species listing for Puget Sound orcas, claiming local pods don’t warrant special protection:

“You can almost say any individual school of fish can be listed,” Harris said.

Calling this “malignant misinformation,” Neiwert methodically refutes the BIAW with something he likes to call “facts.” But…

Facts matter little to organizations like the BIAW. Their ability to ensure that developers have as few restrictions as possible in bringing pavement to every corner of the state is all that counts.

Even if, in the end, every last orca simply vanishes from these waters. If the BIAW has its way, that outcome is not just predictable, it’s guaranteed.

It may be a death by a thousand cuts, slow and incremental. But groups like the BIAW are killing orcas just as certainly as someone out hunting them with guns.

Yeah, Neiwert knows a thing or two about orcas — hence the name of his blog — but he’s also an expert on the right-wing militia movement, and by association, the BIAW.

The Building Industry Association of Washington is an organization that not only is ruthless to the point of consciencelessness, it also has become an extraordinarily significant player in Washington state politics. They are, in fact, one of the most powerful funders of the conservative movement’s agenda here.

And, perhaps unsurprisingly, they also boast a history of dalliances with (and underwriting of) right-wing extremism, particularly the Patriot/militia movement of the 1990s.

Neiwert goes on to detail the “even darker side to the BIAW,” chronicling its key role in funding, supporting and organizing right-wing property rights, secessionist, and militia groups. One of the key players was Jim Klauser…

…until recently he remained associated with the BIAW by sitting on its Legal Trust Committee. Klauser ran one of the BIAW’s major subgroups, the Master Builders Association of King County, and the Snohomish County office of the BIAW just north of Seattle.

He also founded an organization called the Snohomish County Property Rights Alliance, which became a front for militia organizing and other far-right activity…


One of SNOCO PRA’s leaders was a fellow named Ben Sams, who organized an “anti-New World Order” militia meeting in Maltby, Wash. The keynote speaker at the meeting was a fellow from the Militia of Montana named Bob Fletcher, who displayed maps describing a planned United Nations takeover of the northern Cascades region.


Klauser’s chief partner in organizing the Snohomish County secessionists was a local rabble-rouser named John Stokes, who ran an organization called the Freedom County Committee. Stokes later claimed he had gathered enough signatures to force a secession vote, but he vamoosed to Montana at about this time and the signatures were not submitted for several more months; when they finally were, the numbers validated didn’t come close to meeting the requirement.

Of course, Stokes has continued to foment right-wing extremist politics in Montana, where he bought a radio station and began broadcasting the home addresses of local environmentalists, a la Radio Rwanda. His attacks on liberals are especially disturbing as potential precursors to similar attacks elsewhere.

One of Klauser’s chief allies, a former Whatcom County BIAW official named Art Castle, went on to cofound a local Bellingham group that engaged in similar far-right recruitment. Castle now operates the Kitsap Home Builders Association listed as a local resource by the BIAW.

Neiwert goes into great detail. Really… read the whole thing.

And these are the folk who are trying to pack our state Supreme Court? If the day comes when liberals like me need to start arming ourselves, we’ll know who to blame.

Organizations like the Building Industry Association of Washington represent, in many ways, the essential face of modern conservatism: their bottom line is money and power, by any means necessary.

And we need to stop them… by any means necessary.


  1. 1

    ArtFart spews:

    UGH! Does this mean no self-respecting liberal can ever go to the Home Show again?

    Seriously, there’s no small degree of irony in the behavior of the survivalist/militia/posse commitatus/”fnu lnu” folks. Namely, there’s this eerie silence from them now that a right-wing administration is doing most of the things they were screaming about Clinton and the Democrats doing (when they really weren’t anyway).

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. So far at least, the Republicans are letting them and their kids hold onto their beloved pop guns.

  2. 2

    Richard Pope spews:

    Proud @ 17

    If the BIAW is a bunch of right-wing militia extremists, then why has the BIAW repeatedly supported increasing the gasoline tax and opposed putting limits on property tax increases?

  3. 3

    LiberalRedneck spews:

    I remember that slate of militia candidates the BIAW helped get elected in ’94. As I recall, our fine Region X FEMA director was one of them (a little ironic he’s piloting the black helicopters now). Even worse, the BIAW exists by sucking off the public trough one minute, while pretending to disavow taxes and spending the next.

    Typical Republicans.

  4. 4

    righton spews:

    You posted same theme a while back; saying opposing highway construction was pro-death also…..


  5. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “If the day comes when liberals like me need to start arming ourselves, we’ll know who to blame.”

    That day is here, Goldy. Liberals must arm. The wingnuts are armed, and some of them talk about killing liberals. We can’t wait until they start doing it.

  6. 6

    dj spews:


    “You posted same theme a while back; saying opposing highway construction was pro-death also…..”

    If you don’t like it, then *fucking scram*, punk.

    Nobody, but NOBODY, is interested in whether or not YOU found one of Goldy’s posts interesting.

  7. 7

    Dr. E spews:

    “Richard Pope: When you can demonstrate an organizational and funding flow from Castro to Dwight Pelz, you just might have a point.”

    Precisely. As far as I can tell, his assertions about Pelz are based upon one 500-word article (which may have been cut for length, who knows) where criticism of Castro is conspicuously absent. Of course, commendations of Castro are also absent.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Here’s the kind of people the BIAW supports:

    ” … Lynda Lyon … Faces an execution date of May 10, 2002, for her role in the fatal shooting of Opelika, Alabama, police sergeant Roger Motley in 1993. The murder was the last stop in a frenzied journey through involvement with anti-government extremist ideologies and movements.

    “According to Lyon, the state of Alabama should not be recognized and lawyers, judges, even police officers are all in their positions illegally. In Lyon’s world, and that of her common law husband, George Sibley, Jr. (also awaiting execution for the same incident), even birth certificates are fraudulent.

    “Lyon, daughter of an Orlando socialite, … developed distinctly anti-government views, irritated by what she thought was government infringement on individual rights through taxation and regulations. Like many such people, she joined the Libertarian Party, a fringe political party …. In these social circles, Lyon crossed paths with Sibley, another activist who shared Lyon’s views. Together they used Sibley’s money to finance Lyon’s fledgling newsletter, in which they espoused anti-government sentiments and wrote articles on such subjects as avoiding income tax.”

    Lyon was executed in 2002, and her husband, George Sibley Jr., was executed last year.

  9. 10

    JCH spews:

    That day is here, Goldy. Liberals must arm. The wingnuts are armed, and some of them talk about killing liberals. We can’t wait until they start doing it.

    Comment by Roger Rabbit — 1/31/06 @ 6:40 pm [RR, For once, you are correct!! We NRA members own firearms. We laugh at the idiot Democrats in San Francisco, and we believe in self defense. Enjoy your evening, and remember, “gun control” means hitting your target!]

  10. 11

    Richard Pope spews:

    Rabbit @ 14

    What you actually meant to say is this:

    Crazy murderers like Lynda Lyon and George Sibley, Jr. support increasing the gasoline tax in the State of Washington. These nutcases also oppose Tim Eyman’s initiatives.

  11. 12

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Yup. A taxpayer funded terrorist organization–the face of today’s right wing. But then again, the right wing has always subsisted on government handouts.

  12. 13


    This is why I’m against gun control.

    If the BIAW wants to infringe on my liberty, how can they be so sure they won’t be met with like resistence?

  13. 14

    Lynn spews:

    Thanks, Goldy to you and to Dave. This is a powerful piece of research and writing and so important for us to understand.

  14. 16

    Richard Pope spews:

    Gee, Goldy, we can tar all Democrats in this state with the same brush by pointing out that Fidel Castro fan Dwight Pelz is head of the Washington Democrat Party. In fact, we can tar all Democrats in the entire United States that way — just wait a few days until Mr. Pelz is officially listed on the relevant page of the Democrat National Committee website.

    And this criticism would be much more appropriate. Pelz, after all, is the Chair of the Washington Democrat Party. While on the right wing, you have at best a few extremists holding positions in local member groups of the BIAW, and the fact that the BIAW mostly supports Republicans.

  15. 17

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Pope @ 16…”What you actually meant to say is this:”

    Er, no Richard, that is not actually what he meant at all. What Roger stated was fairly straightforward…crazy right wing loons of the type you associate with or at least do not disavow are opposed to the very concept of government legitimacy.

    They are nutcases, and murderers. Are you saying you are one of them also? Speak up, please.

  16. 18

    David Neiwert spews:

    Thanks for the nice shout-out, Goldy. Of course, I’m hoping that one or more of your readers picks up on the suggestion that someone ask Dino Rossi at some point about his position on orca preservation.

    Richard Pope: When you can demonstrate an organizational and funding flow from Castro to Dwight Pelz, you just might have a point.

  17. 19

    Richard Pope spews:

    Goldy says that the “Master Builders Association of King County” — which is the largest member organization in the Building Industry Association of Washington — is an extremist right-wing group with close ties to the so-called militia movement.

    Goldy is full of HORSESHIT. The Master Builders Association of King (and Snohomish) County — to use its proper name — is anything but. In fact, their major PDC contributions have been to the opposite side of the causes favored by those in the right.

    In 2005, MBA of King and Snohomish gave $52,500 to Keep Washington Rolling — to OPPOSE I-912 gasoline tax cut (which Carlson, Wilbur and the GOP favored).

    In 2002, MBA of King and Snohomish gave $100,000 to Taxpayers for R-51 — to SUPPORT an unsuccessful referendum to increase the gasoline tax.

    In 2001, MBA of King and Snohomish gave $10,000 to No on I-747 Committee — to OPPOSE Tim Eyman’s successful Initative 747 (which limits property tax growth to 1% per year).

  18. 20

    Steve Zemke spews:

    The BIAW supported the gas tax because the money would help their business interests, namely roads are needed to get to new housing developments. Their opposition to I-912 was purely in their self interest. Let taxpayers pay for maintaining the roads. The BIAW doesn’t want builders to pay for costs associated with urban sprawl.
    The BIAW opposes growth management and is pushing to more judges elected to the Washington State Supreme Court that oppose zoning and growth management. Last year they funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their lackey Jim Johnson onto the Washington State Supreme Court. In fact they alone spent more money than Johnson’s opponent, Mary Kay Becker, raised.