House Oversight and Reform National Security subcommittee member Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., looks out from the dais on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, during the House Oversight and Reform National Security subcommittee hearing on "Securing U.S. Election Infrastructure and Protecting Political Discourse." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Wealthy DeVos family won't back Michigan's Amash in primary

May 22, 2019 - 5:41 pm

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The politically powerful DeVos family said Wednesday that it is no longer financially backing a Michigan congressman who is the first Republican on Capitol Hill to accuse President Donald Trump of impeachable conduct.

Nick Wasmiller, a spokesman for the family's RDV Corp., said family members have not made campaign contributions to five-term Rep. Justin Amash this political cycle and have no plans to do so.

Amash is facing a primary challenge for the first time since 2014, when billionaire members of the DeVos family — who live in Amash's Grand Rapids-area district — gave his campaign roughly $65,000 while others in the business community backed his challenger. Though Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has halted all of her political spending since joining Trump's Cabinet, others in the family — heirs to the Amway marketing empire — are still major GOP donors.

"Family members have expressed increasing concerns about a lack of representation for the Third Congressional District and an inability to advance efforts connected to important policy matters," Wasmiller said. "Recent statements by Congressman Amash have not changed the family's thinking regarding its intent to not provide future support."

Two pro-Trump candidates — state Rep. Jim Lower and military veteran Tom Norton — are running against Amash, while others are considering whether to jump in.

Amash did not immediately reply to a message seeking comment. He broke ranks with his fellow Republicans on the impeachment question Saturday, tweeting that special prosecutor Robert Mueller's investigation found that "Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment." Specifically, he said the findings identified "multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice."

Mueller did not find evidence that Trump's campaign conspired with Russia, but he revealed details about Trump's efforts to shut down the investigation and made no recommendation on whether obstruction charges were warranted.

In calling for impeachment proceedings, Amash went further than even some Democrats, though more Democrats have joined the call since Trump's latest defiance of Congress by blocking his former White House lawyer from testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

Amash, who has libertarian views, was elected in 2010 as part of the tea party wave that toppled Democratic control. He was one of the founding members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which this week voted to condemn Amash but declined to oust him from its ranks.

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