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Tea Party's Yoho Introduces PAST Act For HSUS

Editor's Note:  The new bill filed by Rep. Ted Yoho is H.R. 3268

The Humane Society of the United States(HSUS) has positioned the PAST Act as one of its top legislative priorities in this session of Congress just as it did in the previous session.  The liberal HSUS has gotten Tea Party Republican Ted Yoho from Florida to introduce the PAST Act (under a different bill name) instead of former PAST Act champion Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY).  Whitfield is currently facing ethics charges before the House Ethics Committee.  Whitfield’s staff and the HSUS, including Whitfield’s wife Connie Whitfield who was a lobbyist for HSUS, violated House rules by utilizing Whitfield and his staff to set up over 100 meetings with Congressional offices to lobby for the PAST Act.  Since those ethics charges, Connie Whitfield is no longer a lobbyist for HSUS.

The PAST Act would eliminate the use of any weighted shoe, pad or action device that isn’t exclusively therapeutic in nature and would also turn enforcement of the HPA exclusively over to the federal government.  The federal government would have to increase in size and budget to carry out the acts required in the PAST Act.  The authors of the PAST Act, including HSUS, are seeking to end the competition of the Tennessee Walking Horse in the show ring.  Both of these changes are in stark contrast to the beliefs of the Tea Party and the majority of constituents in Rep. Yoho’s district making the decision of Rep. Yoho to introduce the legislation a curious one at best.

Rep. Yoho maintains that this is not an HSUS issue and even went as far as to say he would “never support an HSUS bill” when meeting with Tennessee Walking Horse industry representatives in 2014.  Yoho commented in that meeting, “I can assure you that if this was an HSUS bill I would not be a co-sponsor or supporter of the bill.”  Since that meeting, it has become public through the ethics investigation of Rep. Whitfield that the HSUS helped draft the PAST Act, they spent countless hours and dollars lobbying Congress for its passage and considered Rep. Yoho a key figure.

Connie Whitfield wrote her colleagues at HSUS the following email detailing the strategy in the previous Congress with Rep. Yoho.  “I think HSUS can put this over the top but only by targeting certain members.  To pass this in the House we need at least 50 more Republican co-sponsors.  Sadly, HSUS is anathema to the majority of them.  Example:  we have a good shot of getting the Republican Study Group (RSG)( app’x 50 extreme conservative members) to support the bill.  Yoho, who is one of them, has prepared a video to show the RSG.  And I have prepared a Dear Colleague letter for Yoho.  BUT*****Yoho told Cong Whitfield and me that the HSUS is evil because “They want to give ALL animals the exact same rights that humans have.”  He HATES HSUS.  If we allow him to sway the RSG, however, the bill is assured of passage.  That is the delicate tightrope we walk.”

She went on to reiterate her and Rep. Whitfield’s misleading strategy to gain Republican support, including Rep. Yoho.  “With Republicans, Ed and I emphasize that it is an industry-backed bill…we don’t even mention animal welfare groups.”  Brian Kaveney, Rep. Yoho’s Communication Director continued with this message when contacted about Rep. Yoho’s decision to introduce the PAST Act in this Congress stating that the list of supporters, “are numerous enough to not pin one particular organization as the spearhead of this piece of legislation.

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