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Tim Huelskamp Sandy Relief Rejection Comes As Relatives Receive Millions In Federal Farm Aid

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WASHINGTON -- Superstorm Sandy ravaged huge swaths of the U.S. East Coast, killing more than 130 people, causing at least $62 billion in damage and turning neighborhoods into rubble. More than 72,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in New Jersey alone. But the devastation was not enough to convince Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) to vote for a slim Sandy relief bill in early January.

On a conservative talk show earlier this month, Huelskamp explained his opposition, saying he was "not convinced" that Sandy relief was necessary. He said the relief legislation "reminds me of the stimulus package."

Huelskamp has been able to see a need for federal relief closer to his home. His brother's farm received $1.6 million in federal subsidies from 1995 to 2011. The federal payouts included more than $30,000 for disaster subsidies.

Huelskamp's parents' farm has also received subsidies. Politico reported in 2011 that the farm took in $1.1 million in federal farms subsidies from 1995 to 2009.

Neither the brother's nor the parents' farm would comment when reached by HuffPost. Huelskamp's office did not return a request for comment.

In 2002, Huelskamp himself picked up $258 in disaster subsidies. The congressman has made very little income from farming, according to his financial disclosure forms. In 2011, he made $4,000 on farming, along with additional money he made renting out farmland. The previous year, his farming earned him close to $6,000.

But the farming industry had been something of a cash cow for Huelskamp's campaign. During the 2011-2012 election cycle, the farm industry was the top contributor to his campaign coffers, kicking in $65,259, while general agriculture interests gave $34,000.

Last August, Huelskamp bucked some in his party and voted in favor of $383 million in agriculture disaster aid. The congressman defended his vote, arguing that the money would be matched by cuts in conservation programs. "I thought it was fiscally responsible," he said.

On the conservative radio show earlier this month, Huelskamp used a familiar farm metaphor to slam the Sandy relief bill. "It certainly is loaded up with pork," he said.

Most recently, Huelskamp was caught using his iPad to unsuccessfully organize against Rep. John Boehner's re-election as speaker of the House.

Earlier on HuffPost:

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