Rep. Louie Gohmert launches conservative PAC to defend candidates against establishment Republican attacks
Republican Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is launching a new political action committee to help defend House conservatives from 2014 attacks from mainstream Republican PACs, Gohmert announced exclusively to The Daily Caller.
The new GOH Conservative PAC, inspired by the Senate Conservatives Fund, “defends conservative Republicans from the attacks that come from the mainstream,” Gohmert told TheDC. “That’s been a problem, we’ve seen in some races, where we’ve had leadership come and play and there was no counterbalance. So I’m going to do something about it.”
Gohmert detailed a long history of struggle and a do-nothing spirit within the Republican caucus, and the “depression” conservative House members felt when Speaker John Boehner conceded that Republicans shut down the government, a statement that must have been based on “reading the mainstream media and failing to read the record.”
“There’s a war against the tea party. There’s a war against conservatives, we’re told. If somebody declares war on me I’m not just going to lie down and take it. I’m going to fight,” Gohmert told TheDC. “You’ve got to have money to fight opposition. The leaders in the party raise money so that [makes congressmen] feel they have to stay close to them. If we raise money on our own we can take a stand.”
“I was inspired by what Jim DeMint did as a senator,” Gohmert said, referring to the recent Republican senator and current Heritage Foundation president who formed the Senate Conservatives Fund in 2008, as the tail end of the Bush presidency gave rise to the increasingly intense battle within the Republican Party. “We see the tremendous impact the Senate Conservatives Fund has had.”
Gohmert bristled at common attacks on the Senate Conservatives Fund, which was slammed as “unproductive” for the party by GOP Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“It’s about defense,” Gohmert explained. “I haven’t heard any criticism yet. There are [other] people out there raising money. They’re raising money to help people that are not traditionally conservative.”
The Daily Caller recently reported that moderate Republican Steve LaTourette’s Washington-based super PAC Defending Main Street is mostly funded by labor unions.
“We’re reaching out to people who have traditionally helped conservatives, and that’s where the big push will be. We’re going to have a public approach,” he said, noting that “There are also people who can give $25 to $50” but that grassroots support could become a major component of the PAC “if there’s enough of a push nationally.”
From a policy standpoint, the PAC is predicated around conservative themes like balancing the budget, securing the border and protecting the Second Amendment. But Gohmert’s focus, as with the focus of the conservative in-fighting, is mostly based on fiscal issues. Gohmert laughed about Bob Woodward’s recent reporting that Sen. Ted Cruz eats alone in the Senate cafeteria, but made clear that in-fighting within the GOP and discontent with the current House leadership is a serious problem.
“People are not thrilled when you stand up and criticize your own party leaders. I say, ‘Look we made promises of what we would do when we were elected.'”
“One of the most staggering comments made in recent years was our own speaker embracing the falsehood that Republicans shut down the government. We passed three bills that were tremendously compromising,” Gohmert said, recalling the Republican House push to pass a continuing resolution in the final hours before the Oct. 1 shutdown, the last of which called for a mere delay of the individual mandate by a year. “But [Democrats] were so determined to shut down the government knowing that the mainstream media would blame Republicans.”
“We compromised repeatedly trying to avert a shutdown. Reid wanted it, he got it. People in the mainstream media bought into the lie. There’s nothing more troubling than hearing your own speaker … how out of touch with reality must you be? The guy must be reading the mainstream media and failing to read the record.”
“There wasn’t as much outrage as there was depression. Golly, when our own speaker buys into the lie that we shut things down when clearly it was Harry Reid? There were a lot of downhearted folks in our caucus.”
“The speaker said we whipped it and there was nothing we could do to the debt ceiling to get to 218. … I went around and reported to our leadership that we could get some of our no votes to yes” by adding new provisions like auditing the Federal Reserve, which “Ron Paul had pushed for for years.”
“They kept saying, ‘We checked with our members.’ They didn’t check with the ones who are traditionally no. It was easier apparently just to capitulate.”
Gohmert stopped short of saying that Boehner needs to be removed as speaker because the in-fighting “doesn’t have to be that way. … Across the country, we’re not at war with each other.”
For Goehmert, the division exists not because of ideological differences but because only some Republican House members keep their campaign promises, and his PAC requires certain promises from candidates before offers of support.
“We’re getting started in earnest. We’ve got professional assistance in fundraising. What we need is assistance from people running for the House, that they are going to keep their word. Then we will be helping.”
“There’s nothing more immoral that we do than spend future generations’ money. We’ve never had generations do this where you spend future generations’ money. In America’s past, every generation has always driven to make sure that their children have a better country than they had it. Now Democrats, with the assistance of some Republicans, are spending wildly money that they haven’t even earned yet.”
“We [Republicans] have been promising tax reform since I first got elected. In 2006, we promised that would be the year we did tax reform. Our speaker at that time, Dennis Hastert, nice guy. We had a brand new elected majority leader, John Boehner. They stood up and said, ‘Even though our longtime plan is to do tax reform, we’re concerned we’re going to lose the majority. So let’s just get through the year and not ruffle any feathers. We’ll come back in ’07 and do tax reform.’ Of course we lost the majority that year.”
“I stood up and said, ‘If you think there’s any chance we’re losing the majority we have to do tax reform now,'” Gohmert said, but he was shot down by the party leadership, “half of which is still our leadership.”
“People need to be heartened. They need to be aware that you can raise money even if you do what you promised to do.”