GOP congressman caught on tape blasting leadership as ‘directed by billionaires’

By John Byrne
Monday, February 17, 2014 8:14 EDT
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A conservative Republican congressman was caught on tape in an interview charging that billionaires direct GOP immigration policies — a striking and rare attack by a sitting Republican of corporate money coming to play in the direction of legislation.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), considered a social and fiscal conservative, is a tried and true Republican, having voted with his House Republican colleagues 96 percent of the time, according to The Washington Post. An ardent critic of immigration reform, which he decries as amnesty, he told a radio host for the Tea Party News network that GOP leadership’s decisions to push for reform is being dictated by corporate cash.

It “seems as though that there are some deep pockets outside the Congress and inside the country on immigration that seem to be the only voices that line up the Republican House on immigration,” King said. “And those would be the only voices that line up with the Republican leadership in the House on immigration. And that would be the U.S. Chamber [of Commerce], Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Google money — and George Soros is involved in that too.”

“I’m happy to promote business, but I’m not one of those  folks who’s going to be directed by billionaires and I think that’s one of the divisions we have in the Republican conference,” he added.

Immigration reform is seen as critical in bringing undocumented workers into the US tax system and workforce. But it’s been a thorny issue for Republicans, whose base has likened the move to “amnesty for illegals.” Bowing to the will of his caucus earlier this month, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said he won’t bring immigration legislation to the floor until President Barack Obama earns the “trust” of Republicans, who he argues don’t believe Obama will enforce laws aimed at “securing borders,” a crucial part of any immigration deal.

“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws,” Boehner said during news conference at the Capitol. “And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”

Last week, King praised leadership’s move to pull the immigration bill from the floor.

“It’s the right position and makes sense and is consistent with a majority of our conference — a significant majority of our conference,” Rep. Steve King  told Talking Points memo.

Some of King’s comments on immigration have bordered on — if not actually been — absurd. ”For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds — and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he told NewsMax last July.

In the interview in which he attacks his own leadership, King was also unsparing in his critique of President Obama.

“If I had been a parent who paid tuition at the University of Chicago to study constitutional law under Obama, I would want my money back.”

You can listen to King’s comments on division within the Republican conference at 12:49 in the audio clip below.

[Photo credit: Famigo.com]

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