Congressman Steve King is still "royally ticked" about the "unanimous decision on the part of seven unelected Iowa judges who decided to take the law into their own hands and usurp the legitimate authority of the Iowa Legislature […]." He doesn’t seem real clear on the concept of judicial review, whereby courts can strike down laws that violate citizens’ constitutional rights.
Then again, maybe King does understand that legislators can’t pass unconstitutional laws. As David Waldman pointed out, last month King complained that a bill to restrict bonus payments to executives from bailed-out financial institutions was “a dangerous and unconstitutional disruption of America’s free-market system.”
In any event, King is bringing his crusade against marriage equality to a telephone near you. Several Bleeding Heartland readers in different parts of the state have told me that they received the robocall corncam diaried here. Paid for by the National Organization for Marriage, the call features King asking if you are a registered voter in Iowa. If you say yes, King asks if you believe marriage should be between one man and one woman. If you say no, King thanks you and says good-bye.
We need someone to say yes, take detailed notes about the rest of this robocall, and post a diary here about it. Obviously it’s a voter ID call for a group that will be campaigning to overturn the Varnum v Brien ruling, but what talking points are they using, and what information are they collecting from sympathetic respondents?
Some people have wondered whether King recorded this call in order to raise his profile for a future statewide campaign. Last week King told the Omaha World-Herald that he would be more likely to run for governor in 2010 if Chet Culver did not work hard to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court’s decision in Varnum v Brien. Although I’d love for King to leave Congress, I agree with Iowa Senate Democratic leader Mike Gronstal, who says “Steve King’s too chicken to run for governor because he knows he’d get his butt beat.”
King responded by accusing Gronstal of being “afraid to allow a vote on marriage,” which made me laugh. If Gronstal were afraid of backlash on this issue, he would be making cautious statements that grudgingly accept the Supreme Court ruling while emphasizing his own belief in “traditional marriage.” Instead, Gronstal has made clear that he welcomes marriage equality and will not “insert discrimination into our state constitution.”
The Steve Kings of the world are scared because they know Iowans and Americans increasingly support legal recognition of committed relationships, regardless of sexual orientation.
Speaking of campaigns, Politico reported on April 3 that the Federal Election Commission has questioned why King’s campaign committee paid the Congressman’s son Jeff King $156,000 during the past five years. An attorney for the campaign committee responded that Jeff King is the sole full-time employee of the campaign, and that he was paid a “fair market value” salary for “bona fide campaign-related services.”
King isn’t the most energetic campaigner, so I find it surprising that he employs a full-time year-round campaign staffer, but to me this is a non-issue. Many politicians employ close relatives on their campaigns. If King’s contributors don’t mind his paying his son $30,000 a year, then who am I to argue?
What bothers me are the elected officials who hire close relatives to do taxpayer-funded work—especially when those officials pretend to care about allegedly unethical campaign payments.