WASHINGTON, D.C., January 22 -- An event scheduled for Saturday in the U.S. Capitol Building to commemorate the birthday of Confederate General Robert E. Lee is being sponsored by a group that has close ties to the Council of Conservative Citizens, an organization that Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson has said holds "racist views."

Under the official sponsorship of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, major funding for this group has come from former South Carolina state Representative Richard Hines, who has also supplied funding for the Council of Conservative Citizens.

Hines has been involved in the ceremony twice before; once in an altercation with the Capitol Police over his brandishing of the Confederate flag in the Capitol, and again as a previous speaker at the function where he called for the South to secede.

A major political contributor to Senator Jesse Helms and the Free Congress Foundation, Hines is reported to be have arranged for this year's speaker, South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond.

Senator Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and Representative Bob Barr (R-Ga.) disassociated themselves from the Council of Conservative Citizens after several national stories appeared revealing their "racist" views.

As a representative for affirmative action government computer contractor WIN Laboratories, Hines has also been an assistant editor for the Southern Partisan magazine, which carried a recent editorial against presidential assistant Sidney Blumenthal.

An advertisement in the magazine for The South Carolina League of the South exhorts readers to "Help found a new Southern Nation!" Another advertisement from the Second Quarter 1998 edition carries the following banner headline: "If You Think Bill Clinton Has A Character Problem, Take a Look At...Lincoln..."

The Lincoln ad is sponsored by the Foundation for American Education, which is the publisher of the magazine and has contributed $30,000 to the Southern Relief Society of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Vicki Heilig, president of the United Daughters of the Confederacy who will preside at the Capitol event, works at the U.S. Coast Guard Operation Systems Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia, the Coast Guard's central computer facility. She was appointed by Hines to head the Confederate Memorial Committee of the District of Columbia, an organization that is involved in another controversy over the Confederate monument at Arlington National Cemetery.