On Wednesday, The Intercept reported that Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the most overtly white nationalist member of Congress, has charged the taxpayers $18,000 over 14 years for food and drink at the Capitol Hill Club, a private restaurant reserved exclusively for Republican politicians and their guests:
The pricey membership club, located just across the street from the Cannon House Office Building and next to the Republican National Committee, is known as a convenient venue for lobbyists-hosted fundraisers. Meals there are costly: The breakfast buffet events run $34 per person and the chicken breast dinner costs $49.
King has expensed meals at the private club going back to 2004, just two years after he entered federal office. King’s office did not respond to a request for comment.
Lawmakers receive a special allowance for staff, travel, and constituent services-related purchases, as well as an expense account for costs associated with fulfilling official duties. Some lawmakers apportion part of their expenses for caucus retreats with fellow lawmakers or to spend it on policy-related conferences.
At least some of the expenses at the club appear to be connected to events hosted by the Conservative Opportunity Society, a congressional caucus King has led since 2015. The group meets on Wednesday mornings for breakfast, typically at the Capitol Hill Club. The group has used the taxpayer-funded events to hear remarks from a variety of conservative celebrities and authors, such as anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel and neoconservative author Bill Kristol.
As The Intercept notes, despite King having sunk so much taxpayer money into catered policy events associated with his caucus, the group has only one bill listed on its website: King's 2017 "fetal heartbeat" bill that would prohibit abortions past the sixth week of pregnancy.
King is best known for inciting racial controversies. He has stated that most Mexican-Americans are drug mules who have "calves the size of cantaloupes," and that American society should be more racially "homogeneous" because "we can't restore our civilization with somebody else's babies." He has promoted white nationalist propaganda, retweeted a neo-Nazi who has praised Adolf Hitler, and endorsed a white nationalist candidate for mayor of Toronto.
But King has also campaigned on a more traditional Republican issue: cutting wasteful spending. Which is hard to square with his decision ot spend $18,000 from the Treasury on outings at a private supper club.
King's Democratic opponent is J.D. Scholten, a former professional baseball player who is running on a broad platform of protecting access to health care, rural economic development, immigration reform, and voting rights. Recent polling has shown Scholten within single digits of King.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.
It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.