As a registered lobbyist with Wisconsin roots steps up to challenge Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) in a primary later this year, House Speaker Paul Ryan is the one facing the fire for the GOP establishment’s anti-conservative behavior.
Jones, a key ally of President Donald Trump and a change-maker in the House of Representatives, is out with a pair of racy new radio ads ripping his lobbyist primary opponent for various contributions to things of the swamp in Washington—ads that rip Ryan too. Jones has perennially faced primary opponents backed by GOP establishment forces in Washington, DC, because of his aggressively anti-establishment style, but this new one—registered lobbyist Scott Dacey—is already drawing out long-simmering but seldom-mentioned divisions inside the House GOP conference.
“Listening to lobbyist Scott Dacey brag about being on the Trump train made me do some checking as to exactly when he got on board,” a narrator says on one of Jones’ ads. “Looking at Scott Dacey’s personal Facebook page, there’s plenty of political talk but no mention of Donald Trump winning the primary. There’s lobbyist Scott Dacey bragging about being in Paul Ryan’s personal, private suite in the Republican National Convention but no mention of Donald Trump. How about after the election? Still not even a word about Donald Trump. How about the inauguration? Still no congratulations to President Trump. You have to go to June of 2017 to see Scott Dacey’s first mention of Donald Trump, a few days before Dacey announced he was running for Congress. Scott Dacey is a career Washington lobbyist for Indian casinos. He spent over $170,000 of his own money funding the establishment, both Democrats and Republicans. Scott Dacey wrote the checks to finance the politicians who built the swamp that President Trump is trying to drain. So, remember, lobbyist Scott Dacey isn’t on the Trump train—he just jumped on the bandwagon.”
Dacey’s own government relations firm’s website details his deep ties in Washington, D.C., and in Wisconsin as a registered lobbyist—something that may sound great to those in the nation’s capital, but to voters in regular America it reads like an indictment.
“Scott Dacey has been engaged in government affairs since 1983, having worked in the federal government, the Wisconsin State Legislature, and as a registered lobbyist and political consultant,” reads the site. “In the mid 80’s he served as a staff member in the Wisconsin legislature’s Senate Republican Caucus and participated in a number of successful political campaigns throughout Wisconsin. In 1989, he was appointed by President George H.W. Bush to serve as legislative liaison for the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. During his tenure he managed the implementation of several successful policy reform initiatives, including expanding the small business set-aside program to Indian tribes and native people.”
The other Jones ad lists out all the swamp creatures to which Dacey has donated in auctioneer style, hitting the career lobbyist for giving multiple donations to multiple different career politicians in Washington.
After noting that Dacey is “hoping to use the president [Trump] to fool voters,” a narrator notes that “lobbyist Scott Dacey has never given a dime to Donald Trump but he’s given over $170,000 to support the builders of the swamp.”
Then, an auctioneer reads off all the people to which Dacey has donated including many donations to former House Speaker John Boehner—who Jones helped depose in 2015—as well as multiple donations to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The ad also bashes Dacey for donating to Ryan, the current House speaker, as well as to Democrats like Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC).
In an exclusive interview on Breitbart News Saturday on SiriusXM Patriot Channel 125 on Saturday morning, Jones explained why he is running these ads.
“I’m independent,” Jones said. “I’m a conservative. I’m concerned about the future of America and I would tell you when you look at the influence on the policy whether it be the Democrats in charge or the Republicans in charge, who governs with the policies of America? It’s the special interests. We want to send, at least North Carolina does not—I hope they do not—want to send a person who came out of the swamp now wants to say they’re going to go up there and represent the average people of eastern North Carolina. In my heart, I just don’t believe it’s true. If we’re going to continue, and you probably know this Matt but I’m going to be very quick, this came out from Fox two years ago. Lobbying Congress in 1986, $61 million was spent—an average of $113,000 per lawmaker. Matt, in 2016, $3.1 billion was spent—an average of $5.8 million per lawmaker. And you want to send a lobbyist who is part of buying votes to Washington, DC? I would think not. I am a strong advocate of reform. I am seeing what has happened is that Congress is bought and paid for by the special interests.”
Jones said his district is a “conservative district and it is a district that believes in fairness and integrity and they know that Washington, because of the influence of money, has lost integrity to represent the people—and that is why again I am running for re-election.”
“I am going to do everything I can to make sure one individual will have one vote on behalf of the people of the district, and that one vote will not be bought and paid for by leadership or outside forces—because when you really come down to it, if you lose your integrity in Washington you are out,” Jones said.
There are a number of other reasons why these ads are so important. Axios’ Alayna Treene notes that the ripping of Ryan is significant. “It’s extremely strange for a Republican incumbent to target a leader of his own party to gain an edge so early in the midterm election cycle (the North Carolina primary isn’t until May). The move could also open the door for other members to follow suit,” Treene wrote in a piece about this.
But that’s not all. Jones is a change-maker in the House, who often drags the House GOP conference more in his direction. He was one of the first House GOP members to come out swinging against now former Speaker Boehner, who resigned in 2015 to stave off a coup from his own members. Jones was also very much at the center of stopping House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s ascendancy to the speakership when he authored a letter that inflamed longstanding rumors about an alleged McCarthy affair with now former Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) back in 2015. Jones speaking out this aggressively against Ryan so much so that Ryan is a villain as bad as Rangel or House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in his ads could signal something much larger potentially being afoot very soon.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), now the House Freedom Caucus chairman but in 2015 a relatively unknown member, was the guy who led the charge to remove Boehner in mid-2015. Right before the August recess in late July 2015, Meadows introduced what is known as a resolution to vacate the chair—something that would have, if called for a vote, forced Boehner to defend his speakership at any given moment. The move, enshrined in House rules by procedure dating back to the days of America’s third president Thomas Jefferson’s time in the House, forced members to take a side on whether they stood with Boehner or with new leadership. Boehner lost enough support in the House conference that he announced his resignation before a vote was held, something that eventually led to Ryan’s ascendancy to the Speakership. It was the third time conservatives had tried to take out Boehner, after barely failing in early 2015 and in early 2013, so the establishment at first did not take the ultimately successful coup attempt seriously. But, in the end, it worked and the move skyrocketed Meadows, now a staunch ally of President Trump in the House, to national prominence and eventually to the chair position of the House Freedom Caucus.
Meadows’ office has been clear that that is not what is going on right now in the case of Ryan, at least not yet, but the fact of the matter is that Meadows was about as bold as anyone has been with Ryan this past week.
CONTEXT: Meadows was calling for the House to "start leading" on issues like immigration. He explicitly said prior to this answer that he is *not* calling for a personnel change. https://t.co/6JtGagWAtN
— Ben Williamson (@_WilliamsonBen) February 14, 2018
Meadows, at a press conference where he was flanked by his predecessor as House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), dropped the hammer on Ryan as the immigration and budget debate continues raging.
“It is the defining moment for this Speaker,” Meadows said. “If he gets it wrong, it will have consequences for him but it will also have consequences for the Republican party. We cannot afford to miss the opportunity and do it right because we promised the American people we would do it right.”
Meadows has not yet elaborated on exactly what consequences may lay ahead for Ryan, but the fact that Ryan is under the microscope of criticism of conservatives in his own conference—and no longer immune to public criticism, as he seemingly was for at least the first few months of Trump’s presidency—is not good news for a Speaker with a clearly divided conference.
And given that other rabble-rousers and change-makers across the conference, like Jones, are now publicly speaking up, it could spell more trouble for the sitting Speaker. Jones, when asked on Breitbart News Saturday if he stands with Meadows, said, “Absolutely.” Then Jones lit into Ryan for running a “closed shop,” one of the many criticisms that conservatives had of Boehner back in 2015.
“Mark Meadows has been a true leader of the conservative movement,” Jones said. “What we have lost in Washington is regular order. Regular order means bills are introduced, then they go to the committee of jurisdiction, the committee has a debate and a vote, they vote the bill out or they don’t vote the bill out. Paul Ryan is running a closed shop in the House. That means just a very few works with the Speaker to decide what gets to the floor of the House. That is not what was intended for the House of Representatives. We are the people’s House. And the people’s House must be protected from those who want to take away the rights of the people. I thank Mark Meadows for what he’s doing and I join him on many, many votes and he shares my concern on that we’re going to go financially into chaos if we don’t get a handle on this growing debt.”
LISTEN TO REP. WALTER JONES ON BREITBART NEWS SATURDAY ON SIRIUSXM PATRIOT 125: