During last week’s debate in the Illinois 18th District special election, establishment GOP candidate Darin LaHood claimed that he would have voted against President Obama’s fast track trade deal. Yet this is the same candidate who took hundreds of thousands and endorsements from the very organizations pushing the trade deal. How can he be both their man and run against their key issue?
During the debate, LaHood was pressed by the debate moderator on where he stood on the TransPacific Partnership bill (also known as the “Obamatrade bill”). LaHood said he would not have voted for the bill.
This may come as a surprise to those from whom he’s taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations.
LaHood has taken money from and been endorsed by the Republican leadership in Congress as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Both of these groups have made a priority of passing Obamatrade.
In fact, House leaders under Speaker John Boehner actively punished any Republican in Congress who has opposed the bill. Boehner removed rebels from positions of power in the party because they dared to buck his rule on Obamatrade.
Further, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has made Obamatrade a main issue and has lobbied Congress hard on the bill urging officials to vote in its favor.
LaHood claims he’d vote against their interests? He takes hundreds of thousands from these groups but claims he’ll vote against them? There seems to be a disconnect here.
After LaHood made his comment during the debate, conservative challenger Mike Flynn, a founding member of Breitbart News, threw out a zinger saying, “I hope you told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that when you accepted their endorsement yesterday.”
There are other interesting donations in LaHood’s official SEC filings. Despite claiming to be the “conservative” candidate in the 18th race, LaHood has also recieved some $3,500 from a Clinton-connected liberal lobbyist organization, the Podesta Group.
All this insider dealing is something that opponent Mike Flynn says voters are tired of.
“Americans of all political stripes are sick and tired of a massive federal government that uses its tentacles of authority and hardworking people’s taxes to do the bidding of massive corporate interests, instead of supporting free markets, competition, American small businesses and families,” Mike Flynn said in a statement. “If elected to Congress, I will vote against policies that benefit big corporations and special interests over everyday Illinoisans. Darin LaHood already has the support of the big corporations and special interests who want to maintain the status quo and perpetuate cronyism, and those are the people who will issue his marching orders if he is sent to Washington, DC. His campaign finance reports prove it.”
The primary for the 18th District special election is set for July 7 and the general is September 10.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter: @warnerthuston. Email the author at email@example.com.