After HuffPost broke the news last week that U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) recited white nationalist talking points in an August interview with an Austrian publication, corporations appear reluctant to discuss their donations to the far-right representative.
Sludge reached out to political action committees—including those of corporations, trade associations and special-interest groups—that have donated $2,000 or more to King’s campaign committee during the 2017-18 election cycle to ask them if King’s white supremacist statements might make them reconsider giving him money in the future.
Of the 23 groups contacted, including the PACs of the American Bankers Association, AT&T, Koch Industries and Valero, only one company, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, responded with comment on its contribution. The company donated $2,500 to King’s campaign.
“Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s company-affiliated political action committee has donated to Rep. King’s re-election campaign in recognition of shared renewable energy policy goals, which help protect the environment and advance a sustainable energy future for our customers,” said Jessi Strawn, director of corporate communications at Berkshire Hathaway Energy, which is based in De Moines, Iowa and operates MidAmerican Energy Company, an Iowa utility. “We do not always agree with every position taken by the candidates we support.”
According to HuffPost reporters Christopher Mathias and Nick Robins-Early, King “spelled out, in clearer and more shocking terms than he ever has before, his white nationalist worldview” in an interview with far-right Austrian website Unzensuriert.
Echoing a common white nationalist slogan that “diversity is white genocide,” King talked about falling fertility rates in the West and his fear that the United States and Europe are being overrun with Muslim and Latino immigrants.
He continued to explain this alleged phenomenon, which his interviewer noted is “the Great Replacement,” referring to a conspiracy theory that white populations are being systematically replaced by non-white immigrants. “The U.S. subtracts from its population a million of our babies in the form of abortion,” King said. “We add to our population approximately 1.8 million of ‘somebody else’s babies’ who are raised in another culture before they get to us.”
The Iowa congressman added that George Soros, a Jewish billionaire and Holocaust survivor who donates large sums to liberal politics and pro-democracy programs, may be responsible for funding this so-called Great Replacement. Fellow far-right congressman Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) tweeted on Oct. 17 that Soros might also be funding a caravan of Central American migrants allegedly headed to the U.S.-Mexico border.
On Monday, a pipe bomb was found in Soros’ mailbox.
King has tweeted and retweeted sentiments along these lines and has traveled to Europe several times to meet with far-right, nationalist politicians including the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen, the leader of France’s National Rally, and Germany’s Frauke Petry.
On Oct. 16, King went out of his way to endorse a white nationalist candidate in the race for Toronto mayor.
Sludge received another response—from Dudley Brown, president of the National Association for Gun Rights, which donated $3,000 to King’s campaign. “We don’t give interviews to communist rags like yours,” he stated without evidence.
The Internet and Television Association, which donated $2,500 to King’s campaign, declined to comment. All other PACs that Sludge contacted did not respond.
It’s no surprise that corporations and special interests that King is in a position to help would want to remain silent regarding his beliefs.
Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project, told Sludge that “at this point it’s fair to call King a white nationalist. He’s bashed immigrants relentlessly and, in the recent Austrian interview, made clear that he thinks European, meaning white, culture is superior to all others. These comments make his views no different from someone like [white nationalist and American Renaissance founder] Jared Taylor, who believes people of color diminish our societies and frankly shouldn’t be here.”
The PACs that have donated to the King campaign this cycle are as follows.
Table: PAC donations to Steve King's Campaign, 2017-18