Congressman facing heat bested Roskam for job this summer

  • House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, is coming under fire for having spoken to a conference of white supremacists in 2002.

    House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Republican from Louisiana, is coming under fire for having spoken to a conference of white supremacists in 2002. Associated Press File Photo

  • U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam

    U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam

 
 
Updated 12/30/2014 6:01 PM

The Louisiana Republican now facing heat for speaking at a 2002 conference of white supremacists is the lawmaker who stood between U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam and the House's No. 3 spot this summer.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise's office said he spoke at the gathering of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization founded by onetime Ku Klux Klan Leader David Duke but clearly doesn't agree with the group's views and was unaware of who they were when he spoke, then a state lawmaker in Louisiana.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Scalise said his staff made the booking.

This summer, Republicans picked Scalise to be whip over Roskam, a Wheaton Republican who previously served as the House's No. 4 Republican.

House Speaker John Boehner said Tuesday Scalise has his "full confidence" and was right to acknowledge an "error in judgement" he made a long time ago.

Roskam was recently given the chairmanship of a subcommittee that has been key to investigating the recent Internal Revenue Service scandals.

A spokeswoman for Roskam didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

This summer, Roskam said Scalise's win was a regional issue as Republicans wanted a red-state lawmaker in the No. 3 spot.

"When it all came down to it, it was a regional issue," Roskam said at the time. "And the argument that prevailed was we need a Southern member or we need a red state member to sit at the leadership table."

"I would tease people, 'Look I'm from the south part of Wheaton, Illinois.'" he said. "Roosevelt Road was not the Mason-Dixon Line they had in mind."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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