Skip to comments.Fur flies between Iowa Republican representative and animal rights group (Steve King)
Posted on 10/06/2012 1:45:06 PM PDT by jazusamo
Animosity between a House conservative and a prominent animal rights group has exploded into election-year fireworks in rural Iowa.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund has spent more than half of its political action budget so far this election cycle opposing a single lawmaker: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).
The group the 501(c)(4) lobbying affiliate of the Humane Society of the United States says King has turned himself into the chief foe of animal protection in Congress.
Kings campaign calls the group extreme and says the congressman is being targeted for championing states rights and standing up against over-regulation.
The clash is playing out in a key House race that has garnered national attention.
Democrat Christie Vilsack, wife of former Iowa governor and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, is running against King, who picked up a high-profile endorsement from GOP nominee Mitt Romney earlier this year.
Other outside groups are also jumping into the race, but Jimmy Centers, communications director for Kings campaign, told The Hill that the animal rights groups television ads are the most dishonest. He noted that some stations refused to air one of the groups ads.
It's the most dishonest, and that's reflected by the fact that eight television stations serving the Fourth District have pulled the ad. It has no place in Iowa or American politics, Centers said.
The rejected ad focused on Kings vote over the summer against an amendment to the farm bill that would penalize spectators at animal fighting contests. King said he opposes any kind of animal fighting, but argued the matter should rest in states hands, many of which have already passed laws targeting spectators at such fights.
Several Iowa television stations refused to air the spot, but the group reworked it to focus on Kings broader record. The revamped ad was cleared by the stations and is now running in Iowa, according to Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
He has made himself the self-appointed leader of opposing animal welfare laws in Congress, Markarian said of King. He speaks out against these laws nearly every time they come out and we want the voters in Iowa's Fourth District to know his record in support of animal cruelty.
Markarian said it wasn't clear why the first ad that was rejected, with some TV stations saying it was too graphic and others questioning its truthfulness. The animal rights advocate noted a Des Moines Register editorial describes the rejected ad as accurate and that it has since been viewed more than 25,000 times on YouTube.
The race between King and Vilsack is considered competitive, though the congressmans district leans Republican, according to the Cook Political Report.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund has spent more than $180,000 on independent expenditures so far this election cycle, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. About $100,000 of that has gone towards defeating King much more than any one of the nearly dozen individual House races the group has spent money on.
The Humane Society didnt sponsor ads against King during the 2010 mid-term campaign, but after redistricting in Iowa, his race became a much more attractive target, according to Markarian. He said animal rights are not typical election-year fare either, so the ads have more resonance with voters.
These issues can often cut through the clutter because these are issues that voters don't typically hear about. It's often surprising for voters to hear that a legislator is against strengthening laws against dog-fighting or helping pets during disasters, Markarian said.
King has long fought with the Humane Society.
In an April 2010 op-ed, he wrote the group is run by vegetarians with an extreme anti-meat agenda and is a radical, activist group committed to working against livestock production and American farmers.
This summer, King passed an amendment to the House version of the farm bill that he argued in a statement would ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.
That measure was the Protect Interstate Commerce Act (PICA), which said states cant impose limits on agricultural products means of production. The provision is in response to a California state law that would ban eggs produced by hens in small cages, even from out of state.
California's burdensome regulations can't be passed onto other states like Iowa and Congressman King's amendment protects states' rights, Centers said, noting the amendment had the support of pork farmers (please link to http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/237939-midnight-egg-amendment-in-2012-farm-bill-escalates-animal-rights-fight)
Centers said King is fighting for farmers and touted the Iowa Farm Bureaus endorsement of him. He dismissed the revamped ad from the Humane Society Legislative Fund as another dishonest and misleading attack and said the group was upset by King's PICA amendment to the farm bill.
The Humane Society Legislative Fund spent close to $750,000 on independent expenditures in the 2010 election cycle, according to FEC records, and Markarian said the group expects to spend as much this campaign season.
Kings race will remain a focus of the group, with plans for more spending on television advertising and canvassing in the district.
It is certainly one of our priority races. We are looking to do more over the coming month, Markarian said.
Rep. King is correct. The HSUS is also an extreme anti-hunting group.
Humane society is run by leftists
King passed an amendment ... that he argued in a statement would ensure that radical organizations like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA are prohibited from establishing a patchwork of restrictive state laws aimed at slowly suffocating production agriculture out of existence.
These two positions do not appear to be particularly consistent.
Agreed, I noticed it too. I believe it’s the writer.
I saw the ad on youtube they are talking about. I won’t link it here because I don’t want to give them any more “hits” than necessary. It’s a bunch of crapola, though. Steve King doesn’t want pets included in disaster relief, yadda, yadda.
As a VERY manly, anti-hunting vegetarian, let me say...I’ve seen those ads, and they’re lies.
The Humane society on the national level is run by extreme lefties. I disassociated myself from them when I became a pro-life advocate.
It requires massive acceptance of cognitive dissonance to juggle the concepts of “animal rights” and the murder of unborn children. But they do it every day.
By the way, my anti-hunting money goes into group purchasing of private land and hundreds of “no hunting” signs. It’s legal, peaceful, and gives us some great places to camp. Or, as in the cases of our growing mountain holdings, rock climb, for those who are into that kind of thing. Not me.
IMHO I think it is very important that we take these issues away from the left. How? By making it more clear what we really think.
Few, if any on our side believe that cruelty to any living creature, animal or human should be tolerated. Most of us have had, or have pets, and would do our utmost to protect them and make sure they are cared for. Nonetheless, the left has been successful in painting those on the right as lacking compassion for humans and animals who can’t fend for themselves. This is a losing issue, and ironically, the opposite is true. We have to do a better job making this clear.
We are the party that wants to protect the innocent. We need to make that clear.
Don’t get me started...The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is not remotely related legally, financially or otherwise with local humane societies. HSUS is the biggest pack of money-grubbing, bald-faced lyin’, bait and switch phonies on the planet. The are animal rightists, and although their TV ads make it look like they rescue doggies and kitties and run shelters, they do not run a single pet shelter yet they divert resources and money from those that do. They are well-paid lobbyists and lawyers working to delegitimize animal agriculture in the U.S.
Very well said. They are not a humane society nor are they affiliated with the U.S. Government but they are frauds!
SO is the Des Moines Register.
King's my critter and for the first time I donated to a politician. This guy's a SUPER immigration hawk and one of the most conservative members of congress.
He's great! Now if we could get rid of that dung heap Harkin, we'd be doing great!