New Orleans -- While awaiting release from a halfway house, former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke has been working for an organization he founded that defends "white civil rights.''
Duke, a former state lawmaker who ran for governor and the Senate, was required to get a job while at the Baton Rouge halfway house, where he is completing his federal sentence for fraud.
Tracy Billingsley, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons in Washington, said Monday she had no comment on Duke's job until she could check into it.
But Duke spokesman Roy Armstrong said federal prison officials did not object to Duke working for his own organization, the European-American Unity and Rights Organization, or EURO.
EURO's Web site says it "defends white interests and rights'' in the same fashion that the NAACP works on behalf of minorities.
Duke has been answering telephones and "reorganizing the way we do data-entry,'' Armstrong said. He also organized a welcome-home event for himself and a conference featuring white-supremacist speakers to take place on Memorial Day weekend in New Orleans.
Duke has been paid $1,000 for the work, Armstrong said. He works from his home in Mandeville, about 20 miles north of New Orleans, and reports back to the halfway house each evening. He is scheduled to be released May 15.
Armstrong said Duke would have found it difficult to work elsewhere. "There wouldn't be many companies that would hire him because they'd be afraid of the negative publicity,'' he said.
Duke pleaded guilty last year to underreporting his income and swindling supporters out of thousands of dollars in a direct-mail campaign. He was sentenced to more than a year in prison and fined $10,000.