October 20, 2023
Mike Simpson the “PAC Piglet”
Time to send the appropriator politician into retirement
By: Brian Almon
A few weeks ago, I wrote an essay about how too many politicians see themselves as managers of the current system rather than statesmen who are elected to reform it. I’ve unlocked it for free subscribers, so check it out here.
I referred to a tweet by Congressman Mike Simpson of Idaho’s 2nd congressional district to illustrate that paradigm. Little did I know that Simpson would spend the following two weeks burning any remaining conservative goodwill he once might have had.
I live in Idaho’s 1st congressional district, which is represented by the reasonably conservative Russ Fulcher, so I haven’t talked much about Simpson. Not my circus, not my monkeys, right? Well, not really. Simpson’s voting record and rhetoric affect all of Idaho, as well as influencing policy and discourse at the national level. So while Simpson might not be my monkey, it is very much my circus.
Idaho conservatives know who Mike Simpson really is:
- He advocates for removing the dams on the Snake River that provide us with electricity
- He cosponsored a bill to extend more special protections to LGBTQ+ people, supposedly a “moderate” version of the Democrat’s draconian Equality Act
- He joined with the Democrats in 2021 to create the January 6th Committee, which as expected turned into a witch hunt against Donald Trump and his supporters
- He continued to tout his endorsement from Trump in the 2022 primary, despite the endorsement coming in 2020
- He has worked closely with the so-called “Main Street Caucus” which champions bigger government in Idaho and wants to completely surrender on social issues
- He has never seen a spending bill he was not willing to vote for
This week, Mike Simpson joined a handful of other congressmen in voting against Jim Jordan of Ohio for Speaker of the House. Despite countless calls, letters, and emails from Idahoans, Simpson held firm, seeking to punish House conservatives for removing Kevin McCarthy two weeks ago and for blocking the ascension of Steve Scalise to that position. He justified himself on Twitter earlier this week:
Of course, what he calls “intimidation and threatening tactics” simply refers to getting calls from his constituents asking him to support Jordan for Speaker. If you’re not donating five figures to his campaign, Simpson doesn’t want to hear from you:
Would it surprise you to learn that Simpson was one of a handful of Republicans who received campaign donations from the disgraced crypto firm FTX, which bankrolled progressive campaigns with stolen money?
I thought KCRCC Chairman Brent Regan’s response was fitting:
Idaho GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon weighed in with a press release lamenting Simpson’s intransigence:
Congressman Simpson’s inclination to engage in inside-the-Beltway political games rather than focusing on the pressing business that truly matters to our constituents is disappointing. Representative Simpson has served in congress for decades. Perhaps all this time away from Idaho has caused him to lose sight of the real work that Americans need on the important issues that impact them and their families.
We urge our Congressman to reconsider his position and refocus his efforts on addressing the significant issues confronting our constituents — rather than waste his time engaging in protest votes and parliamentary delay tactics. The people of Idaho expect Mike Simpson to represent their concerns and prioritize their needs above political games and partisan divisions.
Idaho GOP Chair Dorothy Moon, October 17, 2023
Today, Simpson issued his response:
The Idaho Republican Party is pushing a false narrative that I am not representing my constituents based on not voting for Mr. Jordan. Perhaps Chairwoman Dorothy Moon has not lived in Idaho long enough to understand how important things like agriculture, delisting wolves, our nation’s military, and the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) are for our state.
I came to Congress to fight for Idahoans’ priorities and ensure our farmers, ranchers, INL workers, and most rural community members have a voice. As Idaho’s only appropriator, I have a unique opportunity to fight for Idaho priorities and bring your hard-earned tax dollars back to Idaho instead of going to blue states like California or New York.
This raises the question: If Congressman Simpson claims to be conservative, why doesn’t he support his colleague Jim Jordan for Speaker? The answer is simple. I cannot – and will not – support a Speaker who has repeatedly taken positions against Idaho’s best interests. However, Chairwoman Moon made it clear this is the kind of Speaker she would stand behind.
Congressman Mike Simpson, October 20, 2023
This brings us full circle to my essay. Notice how Simpson doesn’t care about ideological matters nor conservative principles. His chief concern, as I noted, is moving money from point A to point B. He believes that so long as some of that money ends up in the hands of corporations and institutions in Idaho, then he has done his job, full stop.
Notice how he describes himself as an appropriator. It is true that he sits on the Appropriations Committee, which is indeed concerned with moving our tax dollars around the country, so that is technically accurate. However, I could not help but be amused by the first Google search result for the word appropriator:
That accurately describes many of our elected representatives, doesn’t it?
Congressman Matt Gaetz of Florida, who spearheaded the removal of McCarthy as Speaker, roasted Simpson over his slavish loyalty to lobbyists and corporations:
However, I think Brent Regan deserves the last word:
It’s true. Like so many establishment politicians, Simpson sees Democrats as fellow appropriators and conservative Republicans as the enemy. Matt Gaetz is right — Congressman Simpson is a “PAC piglet” who has grown fat on the taxpayer trough for decades. It’s time for him to retire so that Idaho’s 2nd congressional district can finally have conservative representation in Congress.
Note: A descendant of American pioneers, Brian writes about the importance of culture and about current events in the context of history. His work can be found on Substack, here.