Rep. Frank Wolf Calls Out Norquist

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Mr. Wolf then challenged Mr. Norquist’s advocacy on behalf of moving Guantanamo Bay prisoners to the United States, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. In 2009, Norquist was part of a group aiming to undermine Republican opposition to the Obama administration’s intention to close Gitmo and move terrorist inmates to a prison facility in Thompson, Illinois. A joint statement prepared by the Constitution Project, David Keene (founder of the American Conservative Union), former representative and presidential candidate Bob Barr and Norquist, urged Congress to “preserve national security without resorting to sweeping and radical departures from an American constitutional tradition that has served us effectively for over two centuries,” adding that “[C]ivilian federal courts are the proper forum for terrorism cases.” The statement went on to say that the “federal prison system has proven itself fully capable of safely holding literally hundreds of convicted terrorists with no threat or danger to the surrounding community,” and that the “scaremongering about these issues should stop.” The efforts were for naught. In a rare display of bipartisanship, Congress voted overwhelmingly to keep Gitmo open, and the Obama administration abandoned its plans to try terrorists in civilian courts.

Mr. Wolf also noted several other questionable activities by Mr. Norquist, including his use of ATR to drum up support for the controversial mosque near Ground Zero; his donor lists, which included a $4.3 million contribution from Richard ‘Dickie’ Scruggs, a Democratic Mississippi trial lawyer sentenced to five years in prison in 2008 for attempted bribery of a judge; and his gratuitous insults of Republicans, including two former presidents, Bush 41 and 43, as well as presidential candidate and war hero Bob Dole.

“I believe many people were unaware of these troubling connections that I have spoken about,” Wolf continued. “I was surprised when this information came to my attention. I also understand that some may not agree with what I have said in this speech. But as William Wilberforce, the British parliamentarian and abolitionist, famously told his colleagues, ‘Having heard all of this, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you did not know.'”

Wolf then cited an editorial written by Barbara Shelly for the Kansas City Star on July 11, 2011:

“Washington, we know, is a planet unto itself. But here in the heartland, it’s surreal to watch an unelected guy with a broken ethical compass bring the capital to a standstill and thwart the spirit of compromise that the majority of Americans say they want. Who elected Grover Norquist? He did, that’s who. And Washington’s political class has not the shame, nor the spine, to send him packing.”

Frank Wolf is apparently attempting to do just that. But it remains to be seen if this speech will have the desired effect. Norquist responded by calling Wolf’s comments “silly and dishonest” further claiming the Congressman is “frustrated.”

Yet Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK), who has publicly battled with Norquist this year over what constitutes a tax increase, largely concurred with Wolf’s assessment. “Rep. Wolf’s comments overstated Norquist’s influence but accurately reflect the views of the vast majority of free-market conservatives on tax policy,” Coburn spokesman John Hart said in response to a request for comment. “Fortunately, the vast majority of tax-reform advocates already share Dr. Coburn’s view that tax earmarks for Hollywood movie producers and ethanol blenders are spending programs masquerading as tax breaks.”

The bigger political picture? “The Republicans need maneuvering room on taxes,” said James Thurber, the director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University in Washington. “This is a nuclear bomb on the guy who is forcing everybody to not compromise. It’s likely the House leadership knew about this ahead of time,” he added.

In Washington, D.C., a city where nothing seems to happen “by accident,” this may be the Republicans’ initial gambit with respect to the debt reduction talks, in which a compromise must be reached by Thanksgiving to avoid automatic triggers.

Rep. Wolf alluded to that reality. “The problem in the country is not with the people. The problem in the country is Washington. The system is broken because we have fallen prey to ideologues that have put us in a straight jacket and threaten our futures. I believe we can and will break free because the seriousness of the times demands it,” he contended. “I am one who believes America’s greatest days are still ahead. All we have to do is recover that sense of virtue and duty, and be bold and brave enough to stand up and speak the truth and be true to our conscience.”

In the minds of most Americans, the words “conscience” and “Congress” have become mutually exclusive. Frank Wolf seems to understand that. It remains to be seen how many of his colleagues on either side of the aisle reach a similar conclusion.

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  • Larry

    In the case of Norquist you have to wonder who is giving who fleas. His list of criminal associates and dubious dealings is so long that not even a stray dog would lie down with him.

  • Chezwick_mac

    Rep Frank Wolf is not only a man of integrity, he is an effective and competent Congressman.

    It's about time someone INSIDE the halls of power called out Grover Norquist on his terror ties. Hopefully, this is the beginning of his banishment to the political wilderness.

  • meekee

    Wasn't 'Super Grover' a star on Sesame Street .. seems like his powers have faded now!

  • alfarturo

    Norquist lobbied for Internet gambling and the housing tax credit? I vow to write him another check this year. I'm sorry, but Wolf reveals himself as just another maven of government. Honestly, people of his ilk are some of the most detestable people on earth.

  • StephenD

    What seems to be lurking just under the surface of this go at Norquist is the fact that those conservatives that want "wiggle room" on the tax issue need to get staunch anti-tax folks out of the way. In other words, the very reprehensible things Norquist is involved in were merely a catalyst by which to neuter his influence in the tax world. This is a shame and a scam on the rest of us conservatives who see associating and advocating for Islamic political causes as more dangerous than a tax increase. Norquists’ behavior to this end should have been of great concern to these folks long ago. I challenge their authenticity on this. Be that as it may, they ought to see to the permanent end of Norquists’ influence in all things conservative.

  • ApolloSpeaks

    Will the Wolf chase the camel out of the GOP tent? Hope so.

    Click my name to read my latest Townhall piece On Obama's Coming Cuban Missile CRisis.

    • jacob

      What in my humble opinion is needed is to clean house in WASHINGTON….

      As an example of what I said, I would like to ask Senator BROWN, elected with
      all that fanfare to the senate seat vacated by Teddy Kennedy until his death,what
      has he done in the Senate since that memorable ride with OBAMA on Air Force

  • PhillipGaley

    Norquist is—I think—but another of those men who, finding the difficulty or complete impossibility in putting a decent woman in response to himself, simply, . . . "goes moslem", . . . no more problem, . . . and a whole new world, . . . in a whole 'nother dimension, . . . now, we just have t'get enough Americans and men of western Europe to go along t'make it all really legit, . . .

  • Flipside

    Just last week, Norquist was being described on FPM as a swindler with ties to The Muslim Brotherhood. Now he is being described as swindler with ties to Jack Abramoff. May I remind you that this second description relies upon the dislike of Abramoff and the AMDOCS Israeli espionage / flight risk issue? It is plain that FPM wants to take out Norquist. You do, however shoot yourself in the foot by smearing him with one of your own:

  • Ellene

    Grover Norquist is, I believe, married to a Palestinian – there is a saying in our family – "Don't marry outside your tribe". It causes problems. Perceptions change and basic values can be eroded by the Sirens' call.

    • Flipside

      Wow! I didn’t know they still made racist families!

  • aspacia

    "In the minds of most Americans, the words “conscience” and “Congress” have become mutually exclusive. Frank Wolf seems to understand that. It remains to be seen how many of his colleagues on either side of the aisle reach a similar conclusion."

    Great Conclusion!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    We have laws against the dissolute practice of buying influence by lobbyists.
    Norquist is a sleazy rat and should be sent to prison forever as a warning to
    other dirt bag criminals looking into what politicians have made of our Capitol,
    a cash cow and feeding trough of back door influence peddlers……….William

  • Marti

    Our government has become so inherently corrupt it would take a lifetime to take out all the weeds of ANTI-AMERICAN SCUM!
    These people can't see the forest for the trees, or they would have tried to stop OBAMA from sherdding our Constitution.

  • maturin20

    The American Right is having trouble policing itself? Surprise, surprise.