Huffpost Politics

Steve King Supports Return To McCarthy-Era House Investigations Panel

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Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) appeared to lend support in a recent interview to the re-creation of a congressional committee directly descended from the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a panel that was originally formed at the height of the Red Scare to be the chamber's deliberative body to handle the duties of Sen. Joe McCarthy's anti-communism crusade.

In an interview with Right Side News, King was asked if he supported a recent conspiracy-laced speech by conservative media mogul Cliff Kincaid, in which he argued that the next Republican Congress should bring back the House Internal Security Committee in order to combat "the ugly spread of Marxism in America." King responded, "I would. I think that is a good process and I would support it."

The House Internal Security Committee was the followup to the highly controversial HUAC, a congressional body meant to serve as a counterpart to the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee in which McCarthy was heavily involved. The HUAC was notoriously involved in a Hollywood investigation of actors, directors and writers that were allegedly communist sympathizers. More than 300 motion pictures professionals were put on a Hollywood blacklist as a result of hearings by the committee.

ThinkProgress provides some additional context on the function of the body that King said he wants reinstated.

In the 1960′s the committee was renamed the House Internal Security Committee, and spent most of its time trying to intimidate nonviolent progressives, such as Abbie Hoffman (who appeared in a clown suit before the committee to call attention to the mockery it was making of democracy). In 1975, the committee was disbanded by House Democrats and all of the legitimate issues it dealt with were reassigned to the House Judiciary Committee.

In 2008, Rep. King's conservative colleague, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), directly endorsed a new wave of investigations into whether members of Congress were "pro-America or anti-America," a statement that was branded by some as a call for a return to McCarthyist "witch hunts."

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