Another Look At Former Alderman Tom Bauer

The following is something I take no pleasure in writing, but feel is essential information for St. Louis voters. I prevailed against Tom Bauer in two elections, so I didn't need to dwell on this information. Bauer’s history and actions deserve another look, so we remember how he conducted himself while in office. Filing for local office begins on November 26th, and I fully expect former alderman Tom Bauer to make another effort to return to the very seat from which voters recalled him in 2005. Bauer has no business being anywhere near local government. Years have passed and many people may have forgotten, or never heard the story of Tom Bauer's time in office. Bauer is a lawyer by trade. He was given a chance to be alderman from 1999 to 2005. He used his time as alderman to outrageously file multiple lawsuits against his own constituents, all of which he eventually lost. Less well known, he was also friends with, and personally represented one of the country's most notorious white supremacists in court. Bauer may be a perennial candidate, but he is a man with appalling judgment and character.  

A man is known by the company he keeps. In the case of Tom Bauer, that company is truly despicable. Here's the story of Bauer's relationship with Frank Weltner, another Dogtown resident, and a man who for a time was one of the most prominent white supremacist figures in the United States. 

Frank Weltner "enjoyed" a period of infamy from roughly 2003 to 2006. Weltner became infamous when a website he began hosting in 1998, "Jew Watch," sadly reached the top of Google search results for the word, "Jew." Suddenly this bookish but virulently racist man was in the national spotlight. The Post-Dispatch profiled him in 2005. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "Dogtown Man is Face of White Power Here," 1/16/2005] "The blacks are the storm troopers of the Jews," he told the newspaper. A few months later a New York Times profile included him as a main figure in the expanding world of online racial hatred. "Mr. Weltner, a 63-year-old former local radio talk show host, began what white power groups say is the first round-the-clock racial Webcast this year." Weltner was not just a weird, closeted racist with quiet personal views - he was an outspoken, prolific writer, radio host, and conspiracy theorist with one of the most well trafficked racist websites on earth. His views were obvious and unavoidable. And Tom Bauer, while alderman, was his friend and lawyer.  

Weltner's age and academic facade fooled some into thinking he was a quirky old man or a "get off my lawn" type. Don't be fooled. Locally, he was deeply involved with the National Alliance, one of the most active white supremacist organizations in the county at the time. He hosted an explicitly racist radio show. He organized events and rallies, and recruited new people to his white supremacist organization in local papers and even in ads on Metrolink. And the prevalence of his website gave him a national profile that even the New York Times noticed. Weltner's work on the web, which is too foul and manic to delve into here, was very much the prelude to the "alt-right" that has gained prominence in subsequent years. When we bought our first house in Dogtown in 2006, within days it was flyered with anti-Semitic literature by a Weltner group. Weltner sought to "inspire" people nationally and intimidate people locally. "It's the lone wolves who really can inflict violence and listen to the Frank Weltners. He inspires others." Karen Aroesty, of the Anti-Defamation League, told the Post-Dispatch in 2005.  

While Weltner is still active and still spreading a message of hate, his downfall began in late 2005. Just days after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Weltner registered multiple websites designed to fraudulently solicit donations for hurricane victims, and steer them into his own bank account. He was prosecuted for fraud by the Missouri Attorney General and part of his conviction prevented him from further running websites. Weltner wasn't just a racist, he was a man willing to steal donations and prey upon people's charity. Despite this, Bauer continued to associate with him, using him as a campaign surrogate and calling him a "supporter" to the Post-Dispatch even after these charges were filed. [St. Louis Post Dispatch, "Local, Very Local" 12/8/2005]  

Which is to say, Tom Bauer knew exactly who Frank Weltner was. Despite that, (or because of it?) Bauer was Weltner's friend, attorney, and associate. While alderman, Bauer palled around with one of the country's most notorious white supremacist "thinkers." And he admitted it. For just a glimpse of the Bauer/Weltner alliance, see the timeline below: 

1998 - Weltner began hosting "Jew Watch" website

2003 - Website received national attention after climbing Google search rankings

2004 - Tom Bauer, while alderman, became Frank Weltner's attorney

2005 - January - Weltner's racism was profiled by the Post-Dispatch

2005 - April - Weltner's racism and websites were profiled by the New York Times

2005 - September - Bauer removed from office by voters

2005 - September - Weltner charged by Attorney General with fraud

2005 - November - Weltner operated as campaign surrogate for Bauer, Bauer called him a "supporter" and one of "our guys" in run-up to new election 

I can't see inside another's heart. But I can make a determination of someone's judgment. And so can you. While in office, Bauer used his time to file multiple lawsuits against his own constituents for libel. His legal attacks on voters who disagreed with him eventually led to his recall. He took on as a legal client one of the country's most notorious white supremacists. When given a chance to clarify his relationship with Weltner by the Post-Dispatch, Bauer called Weltner a "supporter." Which, of course, is true. Bauer was the candidate of choice for Missouri's leading white supremacist.  

And before I conclude, let me spare a thought for one of Bauer's other friends and campaign staff. Again - the company you keep. Matt Frederick has been posing as a local government "watchdog" in St. Louis for a number of years. But he was a big Bauer supporter, and relentless critic of me, regardless of what I was doing. Frederick worked on Bauer's campaign's against me in 2011 and 2015. Frederick is a keen follower of, and commenter on, local politics. He's always looking for a conspiracy behind the headline. A relative of Frederick works with Bauer and has been his campaign treasurer since 1998. Matt Frederick knows Tom Bauer's history. He knows Tom Bauer was the friend and attorney of one of the country's most prominent white supremacists. But still, Frederick was paid by Bauer to help get him back in office. Matt Frederick campaigned to elect the attorney for a notorious white supremacist.  

Let's stop tip-toeing around this. There is no shortage of level-headed, decent people who can serve in these offices. It's time to sweep away Tom Bauer and move on. If and when Bauer files, remind him, his campaign staff, and his surrogates, of his close association with one of the most vile, hateful, racist personalities in our city, and his egregious abuse of his own constituents.