Steve King: Moocher?
In a recent Roll Call piece, Rep. Steve King alleges Speaker John Boehner cancelled his scheduled (and taxpayer-funded) trip abroad in retribution for opposing the DHS bill that eventually passed Congress and avoided a security shutdown:
It’s payback, King said, for his opposition to funding the Department of Homeland Security because the bill didn’t explicitly block President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions.
“[The trip] had been signed off on, certified, authorized, everything all booked,” King told Iowa talk show radio host Simon Conway. “The order came down from the speaker’s office, ‘that shall be rescinded.’ And the people who [Boehner] most objects to for disagreeing with him are now grounded to the United States by order of the speaker.
But wait, there’s even more. A source familiar with GOP House campaigns told Roll Call that when King was facing a tough re-election challenge in 2012, the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) saved his rear by chipping in a whopping $600,000 to get him across the finish line.
Great for King — but not so much for the NRCC. According to this House source, King is allegedly delinquent on his NRCC membership dues:
In 2012, King was fending off the biggest electoral challenge of his congressional career from Democrat and former Iowa first lady Christie Vilsack. The National Republican Campaign Committee’s $600,000 investment in the race was crucial to King’s victory in a presidential election year when Obama ultimately won the state by 6 points.
Yet King still doesn’t come close to paying his annual NRCC dues, said the same source: “[He] likely wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the support of the leadership team and other Republicans who bailed him out in 2012. He is not a team player in any way, and can’t be expected to be rewarded with perks like taxpayer-funded overseas trips.”
About those NRCC member dues, Open Secrets says:
While there is no official system of dues collection, it’s widely understood that members of Congress who want support from the party apparatus come election season must kick in money themselves, and any member hoping to attain a leadership position or prime committee slot must kick in much more. The fees reportedly escalate from tens of thousands of dollars for junior members to hundreds of thousands for senior members who want top committee posts.
So wait. We all know King has spent much of his career in Congress railing on immigrants, claiming they’re everything from drug mules, to welfare queens. So if this source’s claims are true, and King owes the NRCC a potentially hefty sum while simultaneously complaining he’s been stripped of a trip funded by taxpayers, is the GOP House’s leading immigration critic a moocher himself?
As for King’s allegation about retribution, Boehner wouldn’t comment. But if he’d really wanted to punish King, he would have done it following King’s incendiary claim that DREAMers had “calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” Rep. Joaquín Castro even reported that Boehner privately let out a choice expletive about King in response.
Instead, Boehner effectively handed King control of the House’s immigration agenda, resulting in a series of deportation votes that cemented “Get Out!” as the GOP’s sole immigration platform.
After their DHS funding debacle, the barely-months-old Republican Congress has been off to a rocky start. Now with this latest news, it doesn’t look like their infighting is stopping anytime soon.