One of Congress’ most prominent libertarian voices received some particularly harsh comments from a member of his own party, according to a story published Thursday.
POLITICO reports on Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who is battling a primary challenger:
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Amash isn’t a “serious member of Congress,” and added “this is someone here playing games, and trying to be on the opposite side of Republicans.” Nunes gave his opponent $5,000.
Nunes said his dealings with Amash on a water bill critical to California turned him off.
“He’s been leading the charge and not telling the truth about [NSA surveillance policies],” Nunes said in an interview. “He’s been fanning the flames, and it gets to the point where my assessment is this is a guy willing to work with San Francisco Democrats to protect bait fish, and at the same time he’s Al Qaeda’s best friend in the Congress.”
Amash has been critical of the National Security Agency and caused a floor fight last year over a controversial amendment to curb the agency’s ability to collect phone data from Americans.
For his part, Amash said he votes “less often with Nancy Pelosi, the real San Francisco Democrat, than any member of Congress.” As of 2013, he has an 89 percent lifetime rating (with 100 percent being the most conservative) from the American Conservative Union; Amash’s libertarian politics, however, don’t fit so neatly on a left-right political scale.
The Michigan Republican is known for explaining even the most mundane of votes on his Facebook page. He recently qualified his no vote on a bill that would create a commemorative coin in honor of the National Parks Service by writing, “The federal government shouldn’t be minting commemorative coins to fund nonprofits, whether proceeds go to the Baseball Hall of Fame or a Marshals Service museum (as under previous commemorative coin bills), or to the National Park Service. Waste and cronyism abound in these efforts.”
Amash has also resonated with libertarian-leaning youth, frequently participating in events with such groups as Young Americans for Liberty.
“Only Ron and Rand Paul have more influence with the young libertarian activists entering the Republican Party … than Amash,” Jim Antle, editor of the Daily Caller News Foundation, wrote in November.