House Republican leaders used a secret criteria list to decide which conservatives to purge from powerful House committees, Breitbart News has learned. As this time, it appears they will keep the criteria list hidden from the public, too. Spokespeople for members of House GOP leadership have refused to discuss details about the list on the record with press.
Because GOP Leadership won't discuss the list, it’s unclear what specific criteria the list contained and how much of a role it played in the conservative purge. It’s also unclear which member of House Republican leadership initiated this process.
In remarks to the Heritage Foundation’s Bloggers Briefing on Tuesday, Kansas Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp confirmed the existence of such a list.
“We’ve heard from multiple sources that someone walked in with a list of votes and said if you didn’t reach a particular scorecard of what was considered the right vote – which by the way, in most cases, was not the conservative position – then [they said] ‘we’re going to have to remove you from the committee,’” Huelskamp said.
“All that took place behind closed doors, which is again a problem with Washington, D.C. – whether it’s the budget negotiations, whether it’s everything else, it’s usually done behind closed doors," he explained. "I think, as conservatives, this is where we can win: We’ve got to be willing and able to talk about things in public instead of being afraid of actual public scrutiny.”
Huelskamp later told Breitbart News he thinks House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Whip Kevin McCarthy owe it to the American people to be transparent about this decision making process – and that they should publicly release the list.
“In the name of transparency and openness, they most certainly should release the criteria,” Huelskamp said in an email. “Republican leadership promised America a new era of transparency – they should deliver on it.”
Huelskamp was one of four conservative Republicans that GOP leadership removed from committees on which they’d have the ability to affect fiscal policy. He and Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash were pulled from the House Budget Committee and Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina got yanked off the House Financial Services Committee.
Amash, who joined Huelskamp at the Heritage Foundation event on Tuesday, said nobody in leadership even informed him of the move. “We haven’t even been told officially that I’ve been removed from the Budget Committee,” Amash said. “I’ve had to read it in the newspapers. So, actually, I’ve received not a single call from anyone in leadership. Not a single email. I’ve received no messages about it. I’ve been not told about what committees I will be on, if in fact I have been removed from Budget – which I have to assume is true.”
Amash added that, like Republican Study Committee chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, he thinks this type of behavior from GOP leadership is dangerous for the party.
“For a party that’s trying to expand its base and make sure that it reaches out to young people and new groups, I think it’s pretty outrageous frankly,” Amash said. “It’s pretty clear I come from a more libertarian wing of the party – this is the growing portion of the Republican Party. And, really, it’s a slap in the face of all young people who are out there thinking about being Republicans, want to be part of this party and are being told ‘well, if you disagree with leadership just a couple times, we’re going to send you home and we’re going to tell you you’re off the committee and you don’t get to participate.’”
Amash said, too, that he voted with Budget Committee Republicans “95 percent of the time” over the past two years. “On the 5 percent of disagreements, those were on some big issues at times and I think that we didn’t take a strong enough approach in dealing with our debt – which is why we’re all here,” he said. “It’s not acceptable to have budgets that are unbalanced until the year 2040.”