Big Business Vs. Libertarians in the GOPSubmitted by Allegory on Sat, 06/14/2014 - 09:21
In Michigan business leaders are funding financial consultant Brian Ellis’s primary challenge to Rep. Justin Amash. Since his election in the 2010 tea party wave, Amash has emerged as the most libertarian member of the House of Representatives. He’s second to McClintock on the National Taxpayers Union spending-vote ratings. He organized a bipartisan effort to rein in the National Security Agency that came within a few votes of passing the House. He heads the House Liberty Caucus. He Amash told the New York Times, “I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution. And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”
So why wouldn’t Grand Rapids business leaders be proud to have such a widely admired young representative? They say they want a congressman who will work with others to “get things done.” Andrew Johnston, the political director of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, told the Wall Street Journal, "There is frustration among those who think his rigidity makes it difficult to move forward on legislation." He promised that Ellis "will have access to funds that will be helpful to his campaign."
It’s not just local businessmen. Washington lobbyists are rallying around Ellis. He’s also put $400,000 of his own money into his campaign – in the form of loans, which can be paid back out of more lobbyists’ contributions if he wins the race.
In an interview with the Weekly Standard, Ellis strikingly dismissed Amash’s principled, constitutional stand: “He’s got his explanations for why he’s voted, but I don’t really care. I’m a businessman, I look at the bottom line. If something is unconstitutional, we have a court system that looks at that.”
Most members of Congress vote for unconstitutional bills. Few of them make it an explicit campaign promise.