Did House Speaker John Boehner lie to the American people during a Thursday morning press conference when he denied the existence of a secret spreadsheet scorecard list allegedly involved in his purge of conservatives from House committee leadership positions?
Breitbart News’ Kerry Picket asked Boehner on Thursday about the list and why Boehner continually refuses to release it. Boehner responded by denying there was such a list. “There is no such list,” Boehner said in response to Picket.
Boehner’s comment directly contradicts what numerous sources, on the record and anonymously, have said for the almost two weeks since the list was allegedly made and the purge was conducted. Nobody had until now publicly denied the existence of the purge list.
According to numerous sources – including Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, who’s actually on the House GOP steering committee – a secret scorecard spreadsheet was presented to the steering committee. Breitbart News was the first media outlet to report the list’s existence more than a week ago.
The actual purged congressmen – Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina – have all also publicly stated there was a list and sources have confirmed to them that such a list exists. Huelskamp and Amash have bashed Boehner publicly for attacking President Barack Obama’s lack of transparency when not being transparent with his own caucus when making retaliatory decisions like he did with the purge.
While Westmoreland claims the list wasn’t a major part of the decision-making process, he confirmed its existence.
“Look, if we kicked people off of committees based on the information that was given, I wouldn’t be on an ‘A’ committee,” Westmoreland said. “There are several people in the steering committee that wouldn’t be on ‘A’ committees.”
Because Westmoreland admitted the list’s existence – while downplaying the role many suspect it played in the purge – it means either Westmoreland or Boehner is fibbing to the American people.
A GOP source recently confirmed to Breitbart News that House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy drafted the secret list. McCarthy and his aides won’t talk about it publicly or on the record with press. Other House GOP leadership aides and offices, like Boehner’s and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s office, have refused to discuss the list with press too.
McCarthy was scheduled on Wednesday to debrief the conservative Republican Study Committee on his role in the creation of the list. McCarthy blew it off, though, citing a “family matter” that was forcing him to return to his home in California. But, Roll Call reported late Wednesday that McCarthy was still in Washington “hours” after he skipped on the pre-scheduled and agree-to meeting. McCarthy's spokeswoman hasn't provided any reason to press when asked what "family matter" prevented him from going to the RSC on Wednesday.
Boehner is also reportedly concerned about making a deal with the president on the fiscal cliff before the Jan. 3, 2013, election for House Speaker. The New York Times quoted Maryland Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen as having been worried that Boehner was putting his own future as Speaker ahead of the country in the fiscal cliff negotiations – and actively delaying cutting a fiscal cliff deal before he’s re-elected as Speaker.
Many conservative members of the House have expressed dismay at Boehner’s public willingness to cave on taxes to Obama and some have suggested they’ll abstain from supporting Boehner on Jan. 3 if he does. As conservative group American Majority Action – which is trying to oust Boehner as Speaker – has pointed out, if a relatively miniscule 16 conservatives in the House abstain from voting for Boehner, he’ll be ousted as Speaker.
“This is not about losing just four votes [from the members who were purged],” Huelskamp told Breitbart News recently. “He [Boehner] is worried about the 20 to 30 to 40 to 70 who voted against the debt deal, and is afraid that some of them may decide we want a conservative as Speaker.”
Even though his aides are privately scurrying about Capitol Hill to try to kill this conservative rebellion of sorts, Boehner told reporters on Thursday he’s “not concerned about my job as Speaker.”
“What I’m concerned about is doing the right thing for our kids and our grand kids,” Boehner said.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel didn’t respond when Breitbart News asked him about the contradictory evidence about the list.
McCarthy spokeswoman Erica Elliott wouldn’t support Boehner's statement that there was no list, either.