King Claims Boehner Retribution for DHS Vote

There are few things more amusing than seeing legislators complain about the way politics works while simultaneously engaging in the same behavior. It’s usually between parties, but it also happens within the same party. Like Steve King complaining about John Boehner punishing those who revolted over the DHS funding vote.

He added that the speaker is “currently throwing tantrums” and seeking “retribution” against members who bucked him on the DHS votes.

“In the last 30 minutes, I have learned that a very important diplomatic mission that I was scheduled to go on that had been signed off on, certified, authorized, everything all booked, the order came down from the speaker’s office, ‘that shall be rescinded.’ And the people who he most objects to for disagreeing with him are now grounded to the United States of America by order of the speaker,” King told Conway.

He doesn’t say what this “very important diplomatic mission” might be, but since members of Congress are actually forbidden from engaging in such diplomacy by the Logan Act, it’s rather hard to believe it could actually be that important (when congressional delegations do go on “diplomatic missions” it really just means they get a free trip somewhere to get whined and dined by the host country).

And does anyone doubt for a millisecond that if King, a far-right extremist, were speaker of the house he wouldn’t wield that power in an absolutely ruthless manner and punish anyone who steps out of line with his demands? No one would really believe he wouldn’t do that, could they?

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  • John Pieret

    Heh! Sam Rayburn would have had Steve King’s balls for lunch!

  • Mr Ed

    Diplomatic mission, really more of cultural exchange. Members of the Republican caucus will be meeting with far right Iranian politicians to discuss, rights of homosexuals, reproductive rights, dangers of religious pluralism and preventing Obama from negotiating an agreement on nuclear arms. The trip was canceled when they realized they were in agreement already.

  • theschwa

    “…to get whined and dined…”

    I did not come all this way to hear your belly-aching!! Pass the salt, please.

  • caseloweraz

    He doesn’t say what this “very important diplomatic mission” might be, but since members of Congress are actually forbidden from engaging in such diplomacy by the Logan Act, it’s rather hard to believe it could actually be that important…

    Of course, King might conduct his “very important diplomatic mission” by letter.

    There’s precedent.

  • raven

    This unnamed diplomatic mission may well have been to Israel to plot the upcoming US-Iranian war or to Iran to plot the upcoming US-Iranian war.

    There’s precedent.

    Most people have seen that letter from 47 GOP senators to Iran telling them that whatever President Obama does will be nullified in 2016 elections. They seem sure they will win the next presidential elections. It’s not unlikely but in no way guaranteed either.

    This seems to be an open and blatant violation of the Logan Act by Tom Cotton et al.. It’s certainly appalling.

  • raven

    Slightly OT but related.

    1. I’m getting an ominous feeling here about the USA and Iran. This is how wars start, how Vietnam and Iraq did. People beat the war drums and make up a lot of stuff. Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, the Gulf of Tonkin fake attack.

    There are clearly right wing nutjobs who are suffering from war lack and want another one any where for any reason.

    2. Hard on my friends, who keep getting killed over there, and hard on the USA. These wars cost trillions of USD, which we don’t really have and frequently make things worse, not better.

    3. A war with Iran isn’t going to be easy. They have 80 million people, almost as much as the UK. Many are Shiite religious fanatics who aren’t afraid to die for Allah and Iran. And how are we going to stage this war? Iran borders Iraq, the former Soviet states, and Afghanistan, none of which are viable bases. Jordan isn’t going to be interested. Kuwait?

    We could spend 4 or 5 trillion dollars and lose anyway. And even if we “won”, so what. We won the battle in Iraq and lost the peace. It’s still a huge mess and we are still there, a decade on.

    4. I can’t see that the American people are going to buy an attack on Iran. OTOH, they did for Vietnam and Iraq. Until it became obvious we weren’t getting anything out of them.

  • caseloweraz

    Raven: This seems to be an open and blatant violation of the Logan Act by Tom Cotton et al….

    Wikipedia reproduces the text of Section 953 of the Logan Act. It’s quite explicit. The letter does seem to violate it.

    There’s more support for the view that members of Congress cannot negotiate with foreign powers:

    In United States v. Curtiss-Wright Export Corp. (1936), however, Justice Sutherland wrote in the majority opinion: “[T]he President alone has the power to speak or listen as a representative of the nation. He makes treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate; but he alone negotiates. Into the field of negotiation the Senate cannot intrude, and Congress itself is powerless to invade it.”

    The article tells us that in 2007 one member of Congress claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s discussion with the Syrian government violated the Logan Act and introduced an amendment to ban foreign travel by her. The amendment was not adopted.

    The name of this congresscritter? Steve King.

  • typecaster

    I’ve been hearing a lot about the Logan Act lately. There’s no precedent for using it to curb anyone’s behavior, since in the 200+ years that its been on the books, there hasn’t been even one prosecution brought to trial under it. 200 years of dis-use is its own precedent, of course, and that’s why I can’t keep from thinking that it’s much more of a talking point than a law that might be invoked. Part of the problem is that the terms it uses to describe what it’s forbidding are kinda vague, and any defense attorney worth their salt would describe other situations where people not in the Executive Branch negotiated with other governments in the normal course of their business, ask if those instances were prosecutable under the Act, and if not, why not? And since those instances exist, isn’t this just a political prosecution? Thing is, after 200 years of not using the Act, I think it clearly would be.