Rep. Karen Bass, a frontrunner to become presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate, described former Communist Party USA official Oneil Marion Cannon as her “mentor” when she eulogized him in 2017.
“Oneil was instrumental in supporting my own work as a community organizer early in my life, and without his help my life would have taken a very different path,” Bass said in her eulogy, which she inserted into the Congressional Record.
“As a member of the Communist Party USA, he became the education director in the Southern California District, and a member of the Party’s Southern California and National Central Committees,” communist publication People’s World reported in its February 2017 obituary of Cannon.
“Karen Bass has always been a Democrat and only a Democrat. The Congresswoman is friends with Kevin McCarthy and is not a Republican. She knew Oneil Cannon but never shared the political ideology he may have had at one time in his life,” Bass spokesman Zach Seidl told Politico.
Seidl didn’t return the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for further comment.
Bass’s political past has come under closer scrutiny while undergoing vetting as a possible vice presidential candidate.
Bass appeared at events linked to the Nation of Islam and posed for a photo with a top Nation of Islam official, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported on Monday.
A spokesman for Bass told the DCNF that the congresswoman has no ties to the Nation of Islam, but wouldn’t address a question of whether Bass is willing to denounce the radical group.
Bass also praised the scandal-ridden Church of Scientology at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a Scientology church in 2010, as the DCNF first reported on July 31.
“This day and this new Church of Scientology is an exciting moment because I know your goal and your commitment is truly to make a difference,” Bass told attendees at the ceremony.
“The Church of Scientology I know has made a difference, because your creed is a universal creed and one that speaks to all people everywhere,” she added, going on to praise Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard.
Bass responded to the DCNF’s story on Saturday. “Ten years ago, I attended a new building opening in my district and spoke to what I think all of us believe in — respect for one another’s views, to treat all people with respect, and to fight against oppression wherever we find it,” she said in a statement posted to Twitter.
“I found an area of agreement in their beliefs — where all people, of whatever race, color, or creed are created with equal rights, which is what my remarks were about,” she added.