Rep. Ken Buck learned Thursday morning he could keep his slot as freshman class president, but the Colorado Republican is still calling in the reinforcements.
A few hours after his fellow classmates decided not to punish him for voting against GOP leadership on the rule for Trade Promotion Authority, Buck sent out a fundraising email asking for financial support. "Friend — please, if you can — stop what you are doing right now and read this urgent message," Buck wrote, in the blast email sent from his campaign operation, under the subject line "BREAKING NEWS: Dirty Politics."
"In a shocking and vindictive attempt on conservative leaders inside their own party, Republican Leadership in Congress attempted — without due process — to to strip me of my elected position as Freshman Class President!" Buck continued.
"Friends," he said, "I'm under personal attack and I need your extremely urgent help to defend myself. WIll you make an emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100, or more, right now so I can take swift action to fight off these harsh attacks?"
House Republicans elected in 2014 met at 8:30 a.m. Thursday to air a variety of grievances related to a lack of meetings and leadership coming from Buck, said Rep. Mimi Walters, R-Calif., the freshman class representative to House GOP leaders.
Walters told CQ Roll Call Wednesday night she had scheduled the meeting based on a number of members' concerns, and that there were no immediate plans to vote Buck out: "There's no pre-set agenda. ... We want to talk."
Coming out of the meeting Thursday, Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., said "we had a very good conversation, and I think we're more united than ever.
"We resolved many of our differences, and everyone had an opinion to share what they like, what they don't like, they're frustrations, their joys," he said, "and I don't foresee we'll have a problem moving forward."
Buck was on the defensive, however, in advance of the Thursday gathering, calling his victimization part of a pattern of Republican leaders targeting conservatives who don't fall in line: “Given the circumstances of a number of members being kicked off the whip team, and a member being removed from a subcommittee chair position, it is clear that leadership has decided there’s going to be retaliation.”
After voting against the trade rule, Reps. Cynthia M. Lummis of Wisconsin, Steve Pearce of New Mexico and Trent Franks of Arizona were stripped of their senior whip roles.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., was told he could no longer serve as chairman of an Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee for "a variety of factors," with the rule vote being one of them. But in a surprising reversal Thursday, Meadows, like Buck, got some good news: He wouldn't be stripped of his leadership position after all .
Meadows said in a statement the decision to let Meadows lead his subcommittee again was not in exchange for any promise that he'd vote differently in the future; Buck, in his fundraising email Thursday, made it clear he was in a similar boat.
"I'm not voting for ObamaTrade ... not now ... not ever," Buck wrote. "I'll be standing with my head held high knowing that I don't sell out our principles. I'm fighting for what we believe in and proudly standing my ground against President Obama."
In an interview with CQ Roll Call earlier this week, Meadows said he wasn't soliciting donations for his troubles, but that constituents were responding to the situation with financial support.
"I've gotten five-dollar donations," he said, his eyes watering. "Five-dollar donations from people across this country who probably don't have the five dollars to spare. They're saying, 'thank you for standing up for me.'"
It could bode well for Buck in fundraising venture — if it doesn't irk leadership even more.
Read the full letter below:
Friend – please, if you can – stop what you are doing right now and read this urgent message. In a shocking and vindictive attack on conservative leaders inside their own party, Republican Leadership in Congress attempted – without due process – to strip me of my elected position as Freshman Class President! Top GOP leaders are making it known this is in retribution for my votes against ObamaTrade. Even conservative opinion-makers like Laura Ingraham are speculating this attack came from the top: "There's no way they'd do this and make a move on you without Boehner's people saying get it done." Friend, this is a lot more than just silly political games. This attack is an insult to conservatives everywhere. When our Republican leadership aggressively punishes Members who refuse to compromise their principles to benefit Obama, we've seriously lost our way. Friend, I'm under personal attack and I need your extremely urgent help to defend myself. Will you make an emergency contribution of $25, $50, $100, or more, right now so I can take swift action to fight off these harsh attacks? Let me tell you something else: To face impeachment for opposing ObamaTrade is a badge of honor. If moderates in the House want to throw away their principles defending Obama's terrible initiatives – so be it! They can do it without me. Conservatives everywhere should be outraged by this massive appeasement of Obama by Republican leaders and their harsh rejection of conservative ideals. If you're a conservative and are insulted by these attacks on your views – I need your extremely urgent help. Please click here now to help me defend myself and to fight for the survival of conservative ideas in Congress. I'm certain this isn't the end of this. Simply for standing up for our conservative principles, I've have a target on my back from our Obama-appeasing Republicans and Democrats who want to kick me out of my congressional seat. Attacks are coming, and I need help. So, Friend, please make an immediate contribution of $25 or whatever you can afford, to give me all the resources I need to defend my conservative record against attacks from both Democrats and Republicans who have chosen to stand with Obama. I'm not voting for ObamaTrade...not now...not ever. I'll be standing with my head held high knowing that I didn't sell out our principles. I'm fighting for what we believe in and proudly standing my ground against President Obama. Sincerely, Congressman Ken Buck, CO-4