Storm aid's not for "Gucci bags"

Iowa congressman Steve King doubles down on his push for restrictions on federal disaster funds

By Jillian Rayfield

Published October 31, 2012 5:30PM (EDT)

Rep. Steve King (Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore)
Rep. Steve King (Wikimedia/Gage Skidmore)

In a debate Tuesday night, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said that he thinks states should draw up detailed plans for how they will spend federal disaster aid, so that it's not spent on "Gucci bags and massage parlors."

“I want to get them the resources that are necessary to lift them out of this water and this sand and the ashes and the death that’s over there in the East Coast and especially the Northeast,” King said, Radio Iowa reports. “But they need to come with a plan on how to spend it.”

King defended his vote against a second round of federal disaster aid for Hurricane Katrina victims in 2005, because, he said, it went to things like future disaster preparations. “Can you imagine in the middle of a disaster to ask for appropriations for mitigating future disasters?” he said. “That’s why I said no on that second round of appropriations for Katrina … because they spent it on Gucci bags and massage parlors and everything you can think of — in addition to what was necessary.”

Christie Vilsack, King’s Dem opponent, called those comments "heartless" during the debate.

Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at

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2012 Elections Fema Hurricane Sandy Iowa Steve King