From THINK PROGRESS:
Republican Allen West was just elected to the House of Representatives in Florida’s 22nd district, defeating two-term Democratic Rep. Ron Klein. His first move since being elected is rather strange: he has hired a conservative talk radio host, Joyce Kaufman, to be his congressional chief of staff.
WFTL said in a statement that Kaufman will continue to work for the station but not as a host: she has been “retained as our Washington correspondent, with details on her new exciting schedule to be announced soon.”
Carol Dixon, counsel for the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, told ThinkProgress that she had not heard of Kaufman’s situation in particular, but said that generally this setup could be “potentially problematic.” “There may be potential confidentiality issues — some of the issues she’s reporting on may be gained by virtue of her House status. At a staff level it seems problematic,” Dixon said.
As a Tea Party mini-star, West raised more money than any non-incumbent in a House race, making it the second-most expensive House contest in the country. He received major backing from the Republican Party and its major players — he was named a “Young Gun” by the National Republican Congressional Committee, was endorsed by Sarah Palin, and got a campaign visit from Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), the presumptive Speaker of the House.
West retired from the Army after facing a court martial for abusing an Iraqi man, and ran an unusual, bombastic and often offensive congressional campaign, frequently targeting Islam.
One of the places West liked to talk was Kaufman’s radio show on WFTL in Florida, making over 100 appearances over the past four years. Like her new boss, Kaufman is also no stranger to offensive statements:
– She said Jewish people voted for President Obama because “they don’t embrace being Jews anymore.”
– She said Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan “looks basically like Ed Schultz in drag.”
– Discussing illegal immigrants on her show, she said: “If you commit a crime while you’re here, we should hang you and send your body back to where you came from, and your family should pay for it.”
– At a rally with West standing by, she said: “Calling illegal immigrants ‘undocumented workers’ is like calling a drug dealer a pharmacist without a license.” “There are people who want to change your way of life, and some of them may be your gardeners,” she said.
– She also blamed undocumented immigrants for pollution and disease: “We are destroying the environment in this country at an incredibly accelerated pace because of this group of people who have come to this country and have to live a very substandard existence. They don’t have mufflers on their cars. I mean, it sounds like silly nonsense, but it’s not. The cumulative effect is huge. They live, you know, 10 to a household; they bring disease with them.“
This just in! From POLITICS DAILY:
Joyce Kaufman’s controversial statements have afforded her a radio career, but now they appear to have cost her a job on Capitol Hill.
Just days after being hired as chief of staff for incoming Congressman Allen West (R-Fla.), the conservative talk show host has dropped out because of remarks she made at a tea party rally during the campaign, Politico reported Thursday.
Her comments had made their way around the Internet in the days since she was tapped for the congressional position. “I am convinced that the most important thing the founding fathers did to ensure me my First Amendment rights was they gave me a Second Amendment. And if ballots don’t work, bullets will,” she said at the event earlier this year, adding that some things were “worth dying for.”
Of course, what she really means is that she will spout rhetoric to push other people into killing others or getting killed themselves, but she’ll never put her own life on the line. But, let’s continue…
West, a tea party favorite, said in a statement Thursday it was with “deep regret” that he was announcing that Kaufman would not be joining his staff after all.
“Joyce is a good friend, and will remain loyal to South Floridians and to me,” said West, who unseated Democrat Ron Klein in the South Florida 22nd Congressional District. “I will always seek Joyce’s counsel for being a good representative of this congressional district.”
Politico said after West’s statement was released, Kaufman took to the airwaves on South Florida’s WFTL-AM to slam her critics.
“You may think that because you made me change my mind, that you got the win, but I believe that God always gets the win, and he wanted me right here where I am, where I’ve been very successful,” she said Thursday afternoon.