Calif. Republican calls Arab-American colleague 'al Qaeda’s best friend' in Congress
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) [Facebook]

Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash found himself the target of intra-party criticism again, as a California colleague accused him of not being serious about his position and lying about the country's surveillance policies in an interview published by Politico on Thursday.

"He's been fanning the flames," Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was quoted as saying. "It gets to the point where my assessment is this is a guy willing to work with San Francisco Democrats to protect bait fish, and at the same time he's Al Qaeda's best friend in the Congress."

Amash, who is Arab-American faces a primary election challenge from Brian Ellis in one of a series of encounters pitting libertarian or Tea Party-leaning candidates against those endorsed by the GOP establishment. In this instance, however, Politico reported that House GOP leadership is "staying officially out of the race."

At the same time, though, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) has also weighed in opposing Amash's re-election to the state's 3rd District congressional seat.

"I know that district from being around Michigan for long enough," Rogers told Politico. "He's completely out of line with these people. He votes more with the Democrats than with the Republicans, and that's not out of principle, that's out of him branding himself as something different."

The Detroit News reported that Rogers joined other Michigan Republicans in Congress in refusing to donate to Amash's re-election campaign, an unusual move for them to take against an incumbent. Amash has, however, received hundreds of dollars worth of support from the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity, a conservative activist group founded by billionaires Charles and David Koch.

Last year, Amash's opposition to the National Security Agency's data-gathering operations led to him being called a Marxist "fellow traveler" by a small conservative group, which posted video of him speaking at an anti-NSA rally.

Amash criticized Nunes' remarks in a statement to Politico, suggesting they stemmed from an earlier disagreement, and that Nunes and other colleagues are used to "operating in the dark."

"I vote less often with Nancy Pelosi, the real San Francisco Democrat, than any member of Congress," Amash's statement read. "I opposed Nunes' water bill on constitutional grounds, and his comments are unbecoming of a representative."

[Image via Rep. Justin Amash official Facebook page]

[h/t Talking Points Memo]