Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) unleashed a verbal fusillade on Anti-Tax Guru Grover Norquist Tuesday, calling him out as the main political force behind Washington gridlock.
Wolf took the House floor to lambaste Norquist’s pledge, a promise not to raise taxes that all but six Republicans in Congress have signed, accusing him of using it to advance other pet issues that most Republicans — if not most voters — do not support.In addition, Wolf excoriated Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, for his associations with “unsavory people and groups out of the mainstream.”
“I also believe that Mr. Norquist has used the ATR pledge as leverage to advance many other issues that many Americans would find inappropriate, and when taken as a whole should give people pause.”
Wolf specifically highlighted Norquist’s connections to disgraced GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his lobbying on behalf of Fannie Mae.
“Mr. Abramoff essentially laundered money through ATR, and Mr. Norquist knew it,” Wolf said.
But Wolf also took Norquist to task for pre-9/11 lobbying of behalf of Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is serving 23 years in jail for his ties to terrorists, and Sami Al-Arian, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to help a “designated terrorist” organization. In addition, Wolf slammed Norquist for his outspoken advocacy for moving Guantanamo detainees to the United States, including Khaled Sheik Mohammed to New York City for trial.
“I want to be clear: I raise these issues not just because Mr. Norquist’s associates may be unsavory people,” Wolf said. “There are many lobbyists in Washington who represent clients of all stripes and backgrounds. But my concern arises when the appearances of impropriety are raised over and over again with a person who has such influence over public policy. That, I believe, should give any fair-minded person pause.”
Norquist quickly responded to the attacks, arguing that Wolf is trying to stir up anti-Muslim furor to discredit him and calling the accusations that he is tied to terrorists “disgusting.”
“Some staffer of [Wolf’s] went onto the racist websites, you know, dug up stuff from ten years ago,” Norquist told The Ticket in response to Wolf’s floor speech. “I’m married to a woman who’s Muslim, and it’s sad and it’s disgusting. It reflects poorly on him. I think given his district, he’s going to spend a lot of time apologizing for getting into the gutter and anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry. I suppose this staffer who got this stuff off websites did as much chucking as the idiots who put it forward.”
After his remarks on the House floor, Wolf submitted a report to the official House record that detailed a litany of problems he has with Norquist’s clients, causes and stands.
One particularly inflammatory line reads: “Documentation shows that he has deep ties to supporters of Hamas and other terrorist organizations that are sworn enemies of the United States and our ally Israel.”
Wolf and Norquist has been engaged in a longstanding dispute over how best to reduce the nation’s deficit. Wolf supports a plan put forward by the Simpson-Bowles Deficit Commission that would balance cuts to government programs with tax increases while Norquist is dead set against any and all tax increases.