Meet the faux conservatives who lied to defeat Huelskamp
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Meet the faux conservatives who lied to defeat Huelskamp

Posted August 05, 2016 06:00 AM by Rob Eno Fake stamp
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The hubris of the establishment forces who lined up to defeat conservative stalwart Tim Huelskamp R-Kan. (A, 91%) is staggering. Not only did they attack Huelskamp for trying to limit the size and scope of government, but they also did it through the ESAFund (formerly known as the Ending Spending Action Fund), whose stated mission is to protect Americans from government overspending. It is ironic then, that the ESAFund attacked Huelskamp for not supporting a bloated Agriculture bill. Conservatives should realize they are battling an enemy that not only has little principle, but who also openly lies about those that do.

Here’s how The Hill described the forces who joined together to defeat Huelskamp at the polls this week:

ESAFund, which has already spent more than $600,000 opposing Huelskamp, is backed by donors including leading members of the Koch donor network such as New York hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, and the Ricketts family, which owns the Chicago Cubs.

Also lined up against Huelskamp is the agriculture lobby, including the Kansas Farm Bureau.

Joseph Ricketts, who launched ESAFund as a super PAC in 2010, is also the founder of TD Ameritrade and patriarch of the Ricketts family. Joseph’s son, Pete, is the current governor of Nebraska, the Rickett’s family home state, and they also own the Chicago Cubs. Joseph started ESAFund to highlight those candidates who called for excessive spending through earmarks.

Here’s how ESAFund explains its mission:

ESAFund (formerly known as the Ending Spending Action Fund) is an independent organization that proudly supports candidates regardless of party affiliation who favor enhancing free enterprise, reducing the size of government, and balancing our nation's budget. We are also proud to strongly oppose those who do not.

It’s puzzling, therefore, to understand why it would have a problem with Huelskamp.

Or maybe it isn’t. Huelskamp grabbed the third rail of Prairie State politics when he voted against a farm bill — an action that hurt the crony capitalist farm-industrial-complex. So it is preposterous that ESAFund portrayed budget hawk Huelskamp as a free spender.

Here are two ads the Ricketts ran through their super PAC:

The second of the two ads is the most egregious. It shows Huelskamp’s standing up to Washington insiders as being in favor of the establishment when it most certainly was not. The Ricketts used Orwellian language to defeat a true Washington outsider, and even labeled him “WashingTIM.” Beware the games so-called “conservatives” like the Ricketts play to oust genuine constitutional conservatives.

You need only look at whom the Ricketts allied with to defeat Huelskamp to see who was the real Washington outsider in the race. You don’t get more Establishment than the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the high priests of crony capitalism.

An in-depth look at Huelskamp’s record shows just how preposterous attacks from a group dedicated to “enhancing free enterprise, reducing the size of government, and balancing our nation’s budget” truly were. Huelskamp has a Liberty Score® of A, voting conservatively 91 percent of the time. On the broader metric of the Liberty Card™, which analyses more votes, he scores even higher at 92 percent.

On the Liberty Card™, Conservative Review analyzed 97 votes Huelskamp cast on the budget, spending, and debt. Of those 97 votes, he took the conservative position 89 times. He scores similarly on free market issues: Of the 39 votes Conservative Review analyzed, Huelskamp took the conservative position 36 times.

For the Ricketts family or its super PAC to claim Huelskamp wasn’t conservative on the issues they purport to care about is ludicrous. He has one of the best records in the entire Congress on those issues. 

What ESAFund has become is an enabler of the Establishment. It purports to support fiscal conservatives, but in practice does the exact opposite.

Here is its endorsement list for 2016:

Candidate

Liberty Score®

Budget, Spending,
 & Debt Score

Free Market Score

Kelly Ayotte, NH

F, 32%

50%

62%

Roy Blunt, MO

F, 41%

36%

34%

Richard Burr, NC

F, 41%

62%

48%

Joe Heck, NV

F, 40%

40%

59%

Ron Johnson, WI

F, 58%

73%

77%

John Kennedy, LA

n/a

n/a

n/a

Mark Kirk, IL

F, 17%

26%

41%

John McCain, AZ

F, 34%

60%

71%

Rob Portman, OH

F, 49%

50%

38%

Marco Rubio, FL

C, 77%

79%

84%

Richard Shelby, AL

C, 70%

57%

60%

Pat Toomey, PA

D, 61%

77%

74%

Todd Young, IN

F, 53%

49%

67%

Average

F, 48%

55%

60%

It’s no wonder ESAFund changed its name. ESAFund has endorsed 13 candidates for Senate this year — 12 of those are incumbents or members of congress. Those 12 have an average “F” Liberty Score®. Furthermore, on the two key issues the ESAFund purports to care about — spending and free enterprise — the 12 candidates average 55 percent and 60 percent conservative voting records, respectively.

The ESAFund has shown itself, by its deeds and its actions, to be a tool of the Washington Cartel. Its attacks on a conservative like Huelskamp and support for the squishes above proves it.

One final note: How did former House Speaker John Boehner, whom Huelskamp vigorously worked to oust, celebrate the Rickett’s victory over a true conservative yesterday?

Editor's note: After the publication of this article, the two embedded YouTube videos were made private.

Robert Eno is the director of research for Conservative Review. He is a conservative from deep blue Massachusetts but now lives in Greenville, SC. If you see something you’d like him to cover, tweet him @robeno.