Land O'Lakes pulls support from Iowa's Rep. Steve King after pressure

The Iowa politician is known for his controversial views.
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Minnesota's Land O'Lakes has pulled its financial support for the campaign of Iowa's U.S. Rep Steve King, after pressure over controversial remarks he has made in the past.

The Arden Hills-based Fortune 500 company took action after the massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh brought fresh attention to comments made by King, whose 4th Congressional District borders with southwest Minnesota.

King regularly attracts controversy over his support for white nationalism and far-right political candidates, his use of anti-immigrant rhetoric and attacks on prominent Jewish business magnate and philanthropist George Soros.

A quick look at the "King for Congress" Facebook page, for example, reveals a glut of conservative memes, including one that refers to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as "Pocahonky."

The Washington Post reports that the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting prompted a wave of donations to J.D. Scholten, the Democrat who is running to prevent King from getting a 9th term in Congress.

Then on Monday, Judd Legum, who writes the Popular Information newsletter and founded left-leaning news site Think Progress, tweeted at Land O'Lakes, asking why the agricultural cooperative's political action committee (PAC) donated $2,500 to King's campaign.

The tweet was shared more than 10,000 times and generated over 1,500 responses, some from Land O'Lakes customers suggesting they would boycott their products.

On Tuesday, Land O'Lakes confirmed that its PAC will no longer donate to King's campaign, saying the congressman doesn't "uphold our company's values."

"The Land O’Lakes, Inc. PAC has traditionally contributed to lawmakers of both parties that represent the communities where our members and employees live and work and are also on committees that oversee policies that directly impact our farmer owners," the company said.

"We take our civic responsibility seriously, want our contributions to be a positive force for good and also seek to ensure that recipients of our contributions uphold our company’s values.

"On that basis, we have determined that our PAC will no longer support Rep. Steve King moving forward."

King has not commented publicly on Land O'Lakes' move. He remains a popular figure in northwestern Iowa and according to FiveThirtyEight is the favorite to be returned to Congress next week.

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