The surprising thing about this development is that it isn’t a surprise at all. After his little ACORN play pimp for the camera nonsense and an attempt to wiretap Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu’s phone lines, the fact that rising right-wing star James O’Keefe (now facing fed charges for the wiretap break-in) has attended a white nationalist confab — and was photographed at it.

Max Blumenthal @ Salon:

Once upon a time, right-wing pundits hailed the 25-year-old O’Keefe as a creative genius and model of journalistic ethics. Andrew Breitbart, who has paid O’Keefe, called him one of the all-time “great journalists” and said he deserved a Pulitzer for his undercover ACORN video. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly declared he should have earned a “congressional medal.”

His right-wing admirers don’t seem to mind that O’Keefe’s short but storied career has been defined by a series of political stunts shot through with racial resentment. Now an activist organization that monitors hate groups has produced a photo of O’Keefe at a 2006 conference on “Race and Conservatism” that featured leading white nationalists. The photo, first published Jan. 30 on the Web site of the anti-racism group One People’s Project, shows O’Keefe at the gathering, which was so controversial even the ultra-right Leadership Institute, which employed O’Keefe at the time, withdrew its backing. But O’Keefe and fellow young conservative provocateur Marcus Epstein soldiered on to give anti-Semites, professional racists and proponents of Aryanism an opportunity to share their grievances and plans to make inroads in the GOP.

…OPP covered the event at the time, sending a freelance photographer to document the gathering. Jenkins told me the table was filled with tracts from the white supremacist right, including two pseudo-academic publications that have called blacks and Latinos genetically inferior to whites: American Renaissance and the Occidental Quarterly. The leading speaker was Jared Taylor, founder of the white nationalist group American Renaissance.

And you knew a shoe like this was going to drop. I emailed Max and told him it was going to be either something like this — or that O’Keefe was caught with his pants down soliciting a man at a rest stop. That’s just how it goes with these wingers.