Tea Party crasher gets heat from civil rights leader

Tea Party crasher gets heat from civil rights leader »Play Video
Jason Levin is leading a group to take down the Tea Party movement by "any non-violent means necessary."

BEAVERTON, Ore. - A local teacher who says he wants to fight back against people he calls racists, homophobes, and morons by infiltrating Tea Party protests is getting heat from a local civil rights leader and is being investigated by the state.

Jason Levin is a teacher at Beaverton’s Conestoga Middle School and says in his free time he is leading a group of more than 500 people to crash Tea Party protests around the country on Tax Day.

The group plans to “dismantle and demolish the Tea Party by any non-violent means necessary” by exaggerating “their least appealing qualities”, according to the group’s Web site.

The former head of Portland’s NAACP in Portland said it’s a noble cause, but Skipper Osborne said he cannot support Levin and his crashers if they pretend to be racists and homophobes simply to alienate the real Tea Party followers.

“I don’t condone that. I don’t care what you’re trying to do,” he said.

Osborne said he does believe there are a lot of Tea Party members who are racist, but he wants an open dialogue about the issues not covert counter demonstrators who spew hatred.

Additionally, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission said Levin is being investigated to see if his political actions are affecting his ability to teach. She said findings from the investigation would not be available until August at the earliest.

In a KATU.com story yesterday, allegations were launched against Levin by conservative radio talk show host Lars Larson and some of his listeners that claimed Levin used school equipment on school time to work on the Crash the Tea Party Web site. The school district said a preliminary investigation showed that Levin did not use school time or equipment to build his Web site but that it is still investigating whether his political activities were on school time.

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Update:

On Wednesday Levin explained the portion of his Web site code “BSD” that has come under scrutiny and has led to the allegations he built and worked on the Web site on school time.

On April 3 he registered the domain name and on April 4, while grading papers at school, he said he remembered he needed to get something up (on the Web site). He said he opened Microsoft Word on his school computer and typed “COMING SOON”. He then saved that file to a thumb drive and took it home where he said he used his personal computer and software to upload it to the Internet later that night.

It appeared on Wednesday that the “BSD” had been removed from the site and a KATU News reporter noticed both the “BSD” and the “COMING SOON” in the source code of the Web site on Tuesday. Here’s the “COMING SOON” code:
<head>
<meta name=Title content="COMING SOONÉ">

Code with the “BSD” removed:


<o:LastAuthor></o:LastAuthor>
  <o:Revision>1</o:Revision>
  <o:TotalTime>0</o:TotalTime>
  <o:Created>2010-04-06T22:32:00Z</o:Created>
  <o:LastSaved>2010-04-06T22:32:00Z</o:LastSaved>

KATU News reporter Anita Kissée contributed to this report.