Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told Breitbart News that it’s “hypocritical” for House Speaker John Boehner to criticize President Barack Obama over his administration’s lack of transparency while keeping the secret list of criteria used in his conservative purge from the American people.
“It’s always hypocritical to criticize someone else for not being transparent and then hide your own information when it’s something that should be released to the public,” Amash said in a phone interview. “This certainly is something that should be released to the public. Republican leadership was elected to represent the Republican conference. Voters throughout the country elect these Republican members. We get to choose our leadership. And we have the right to know who our leadership is. What do they stand for?”
Breitbart News first reported last week that Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) used a secret list of criteria – likely including some kind of a vote scorecard – to conduct their purge of House conservatives from committees on which they’d be able to affect fiscal policy. Representatives for each member of leadership refuse to discuss the details of such a list on the record with press – but Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wouldn’t publicly dispute its existence given multiple opportunities to do so.
However, Boehner has criticized the Obama administration for its lack of transparency over the past several years. For instance, with regard to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, Boehner has bashed Attorney General Eric Holder for his failure to cooperate with subpoenas from House oversight committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA). “We write to express our concerns with the lack of full cooperation from the Department of Justice with the ongoing Congressional investigation into the operation known as ‘Fast & Furious’ and the related death of Border Agent Brian Terry,” Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy and Issa wrote to Holder on May 18, a couple months before Boehner’s House voted Holder into criminal and civil contempt of Congress for his failure to cooperate with the investigation.
Similarly, in early November right before the election, Boehner called on President Obama to personally force the release of documents related to the Delphi pension scandal. In that scandal, during the auto bailout, the Treasury Department terminated the pension plans of more than 20,000 nonunion auto worker retirees while topping up the pensions of United Auto Workers union retirees. Documents recently uncovered have shown that the Treasury Department and Obama administration White House-level Auto Task Force were intimately involved in this decision-making process, despite their previous denials in press statements and court and congressional testimony.
The Treasury Department and White House have blown off document requests from the three congressional committees investigating, and Boehner called on Obama to personally “order the release of all administration records associated with the decision to slash pensions for non-union auto workers at Delphi during his taxpayer-funded auto bailout.”
Now that Boehner won’t release that document he used to conduct the purge, Amash thinks he and the rest of current House GOP leadership are acting out of hypocrisy.
Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, hasn’t responded to an inquiry from Breitbart News about the issue.
Amash, one of the four conservatives who Boehner and company purged from fiscally focused committees, told Breitbart News that GOP leadership “absolutely” should come out and make the criteria list they used publicly available. “Not only are they not releasing the list, I hear continual denials that the list was the reason for the committee changes,” Amash said.
“If leadership is going to keep a scorecard, then they should release the criteria,” Amash added. “They should release the list of votes and they should explain why they score it the way they do. I think it’ll be very enlightening, because it’s almost certainly the case that if you vote in a conservative way, you are marked down. And, if you vote in a big government way, then you are marked up.”
Ultimately, Amash said his goal is “to be treated fairly.”
“I took principled positions,” Amash said. “I voted as I promised my district I would vote. And, I have been mild-mannered and easy to work with. From their perspective, they think I caused them enough trouble to remove me from the committee. But when you look at how I’ve treated leadership, and my Republican colleagues over the past couple years, you’ll find no news stories where I’m bashing them or blaming people for their actions. So, what I’d like to see is some fairness. If the problem was that it wasn’t the right committee for me, then they should talk to me about it and offer up some other options.”
“You don’t just have your aides leak to the press that some people have been removed from their committees and imply that it’s a form of punishment and then later act like they weren’t removed for their voting records and claim it was something else that you can’t talk about,” Amash added.
Amash said he thinks the reason Republicans are continuing to hide the criteria list is because it’s “embarrassing.”
Amash added, “And, in my case, they were picking on someone they thought would be an easy target.”
Amash said this whole process illustrates something that’s “devastating” to the GOP. “The devastating thing about where our party stands right now – to have a scorecard where people are docked for being conservative, and promoted for being in favor of bigger government, is ridiculous,” he said. “I’m certain our constituencies that elected us would not be pleased to hear that.”