Matt Whitaker IFFC Spring Event 4-8-14
1. What’s the most rewarding job you’ve held?
Matt Whitaker: “Certainly being the United States Attorney for the southern district of Iowa.”
2. First job you ever had?
Matt Whitaker: “I was a bus boy at Mr. K’s restaurant in Ankeny, Iowa.”
3. Describe your worldview and what role that would play in your decisions as U.S. Senator:
Whitaker: “I have a Christian worldview. Our rights come from our Creator and they are guaranteed by the Constitution. So I would start all analysis of any law or anything else first with the Constitution and then work from there.”
4. What is the purpose of the federal government?
Whitaker: “To do the certain, limited functions that the Constitution lists out and to do them well.”
5. What books, family influences and/or historical figures have had the most influence on you?
Whitaker: “I would say growing up in the 1980s Ronald Reagan played a large part of my political and public policy foundation. The books that I’ve read include various subjects. Obviously the Bible is a book I’ve read and continue to read. Then others include historical figures. I’ve read extensively about our Founding Fathers. I’ve read extensively on Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln and Andrew Jackson. I’ve read extensively on the Alamo and the folks involved in the Alamo. Those are several areas that I love. I think my view of our country and our future is informed a lot by what I’ve read about our nation’s history.”
6. What are the issues you consider non-negotiable?
Whitaker: “Life. I don’t believe I’d negotiate on marriage, although I believe that’s primarily a state issue. I would not negotiate on raising taxes. I don’t think our government has a revenue problem I think it has a spending problem. Those would be the big ones off the top of my head.”
7. What is the law and where does the law come from?
Whitaker: “You’re asking me like I’m a lawyer or something. We come out of a common law tradition in the United States. Obviously I already mentioned I think our rights come from our Creator and are guaranteed by our Constitution. Our laws are passed by legislators and are executed by the executive branch. Obviously the courts have a role, although I don’t believe the courts should make law. I’ve talked about that many times before. Much like Chief Justice John Roberts says, the courts should call balls and strikes, although he’s not a good person to point to when it comes to actually just calling balls and strikes in practice. Obviously our laws follow the Constitutional system for how they have to originate and be passed, at least in the federal system.”
8. At what point do you believe a human life is guaranteed the legal protections of being an American citizen and what would you do to ensure those protections are provided?
Whitaker: “You know I believe that life begins at conception through natural death. That’s informed in large part by my three children that I have. I listened to each of their heart beats at the doctor’s office. So that’s where I begin and end the analysis.”
9. A lot has changed under the current administration with regards to the definition of marriage. What’s your position and what is your end game for the debate?
Whitaker: “I believe marriage is between one man and one woman. Throughout history it’s traditionally been up to the churches and to God to define that. I don’t have an omnibus solution. Certainly it’s affecting all sorts of parts of our country. Here in the state of Iowa we can’t even get our elected officials to do anything about it and that’s really frustrating. It’s affecting our military. There are chaplains in the military under a lot of pressure to go against their religious beliefs. But what can I do as one freshman senator in the U.S. Senate? Give me the bills and I’ll vote for them, but the president has done significant damage all over the country. There will be an unbelievable, long-term negative impact he’s leaving.”
10. What is your position on ObamaCare?
Whitaker: “We need to do everything we can to repeal it, defund it, delay it — we need to do whatever it takes. It’s having an incredibly negative impact on our economy. What can we do? We need to get a majority in the House and Senate and we need to get this president to change his mind. We need the people to agree with us that it’s such a negative, long-term impact on our economy and it has to be undone.”
11. What about illegal immigration and the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill?
Whitaker: “I do not support the Gang of Eight bill. I have reviewed that one. As U.S. Attorney I enforced immigration laws and I visited the border in El Paso and California and in the state of Washington. I was able to see what our border looks like and the fact it is under assault on a daily basis from people trying to bring illegal people and illegal drugs into our country. What do I think the solution is? We need to secure the border first and then look at ways to reform the system. Whether that’s getting rid of chain immigration or increasing the number of skilled worker visas. Those are a couple of ideas I’ve heard. One thing I would not support is amnesty. The reason I don’t support amnesty is because the American worker who currently cannot find a job, if we legalize 11 or 12 million people, that will put them under tremendous pressure in their job search and on their wages.”
12. Can we prevent more mass shootings at schools, malls and movie theaters through legislation while preserving the Second Amendment?
Whitaker: “The mass shootings we’ve seen in our country have been often times and always executed by mentally ill individuals who those laws never would’ve impacted in the first place. So I don’t think infringing on Second Amendment rights will prevent those types of events.”
13. What about the EPA, climate change, cap and trade and that issue?
Whitaker: “You know, I think that I’m not a climate denier. It may be warming, I think the evidence is inconclusive, but there may be a human component to global warming. But that’s very small and it may be part of the natural warming or cooling of the planet. I’m certainly not a climate expert, but I don’t believe in Cap and Trade or those types of regulations that try to hamstring the U.S. economy as other countries continue to put carbon into the air. I don’t believe in big government solutions to a problem that doesn’t appear to be that significant or quite possibly isn’t man made.”
14. What about the IRS?
Whitaker: “Two things: As someone who was quite possibly targeted for my political beliefs via the IRS, I went through an audit not long after the first year of my business represented some conservative groups. The politicization and targeting of groups is so against the America I believe in. I support all tax reform, anything that makes it simpler, easier to comply with and puts less of a burden on our families and small businesses. I’m familiar with the Fair Tax and the Flat Tax. I like them both. The only challenge with the Fair Tax is we’d have to repeal the 16th Amendment. It worries me giving Congress potentially another avenue to tax. That scares me. You’d have to make sure the income tax was put to rest before implementing the Fair Tax.”
15. Have you ever supported raising a tax and if so which ones? Are there any current taxes you would support increasing?
Whitaker: “No and no.”
16. What about the NSA and balancing security with our right to privacy?
Whitaker: “I certainly would continue and always have supported the monitoring of foreign nationals outside of our country. But the Constitution provides certain limits on government surveillance on its own citizens and I’d continue to support those constitutional protections. For me as a former prosecutor, I know the line and I know the process of getting a court order to bypass and listen to other people. We should just continue to use what we’ve always used on our own citizens for law enforcement purposes. For listening to non-U.S. citizens outside the country, it’s wonderful and we should do all we can.”
17. What about the situation in Egypt, which has brought to light the issue of foreign aid?
Whitaker: “I don’t think we should send foreign aid to countries that don’t like us. It’s that simple. I think if you look at whether the foreign aid is going to Egypt or the UN, we need to really take a careful look at where we’re sending our tax dollars and the regimes we’re supporting.”
18. What role should the federal government have in public education?
Whitaker: “None. I think the Department of Education should be disbanded and the resources either returned to the taxpayers or put into the schools. Bureaucrats in Washington D.C. shouldn’t know how to better educate my kids than I do.”
19. What’s the role of the courts and what is or what are some of the worst decisions in the Supreme Court’s history?
Whitaker: “The courts are supposed to be the inferior branch of our three branches of government. We have unfortunately off loaded many of our tough public policy issues onto the court and they’ve decided hem. Unelected judges are deciding many of the issues of the day. There are so many (bad rulings). I would start with the idea of Marbury v. Madison. That’s probably a good place to start and the way it’s looked at the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of constitutional issues. We’ll move forward from there. All New Deal cases that were expansive of the federal government. Those would be bad. Then all the way up to the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate.”
20. Favorite politician in U.S. history?
Whitaker: “Ronald Reagan, George Washington and James Madison. I didn’t enjoy his politics as much, but I enjoyed (Teddy Roosevelt’s) style. He was certainly somebody who I enjoy reading about as a personality.”
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