Allen West created an apparent controversy when he stated at a Florida event, "I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party." Democrats decried West's comment--and even the Communist Party USA slammed the Florida congressman.
However, West is not backing down, sticking with his claim even though he won't name specific names.
"The Congressman was referring to the 76 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus," West's communications directors writes in an email. "The Communist Party has publicly referred to the Progressive Caucus as its allies. The Progressive Caucus speaks for itself. These individuals certainly aren't proponents of free markets or individual economic freedom."
West's spokesman refers to the Communist Party's own website. Specifically, this paragraph, the spokesman says:
The immediate effect was to confuse and divide those fighting for meaningful reform. It disunited the movement. The HCAN approach was to argue against single payer because it took a pragmatic approach that single payer did not have a chance and that sections of HCAN did not support single payer as policy. Please note, this pragmatic view was put forward before the 2008 elections thus making it difficult to push those running for election in a unified direction. Giving up its leadership position, the CPUSA contributed to this division and confusion by the masses and in its own ranks. Its knee jerk reaction was to support the HCAN approach (public option, which they gave up on pretty easily when the Senate debate began) because it was pragmatic and was supported by several trade unions. Did we forget the fact that many of the same unions, hundreds of locals, and the rank and file supported single payer? We also turned away from our allies in Congress, the Progressive Caucus, and John Conyers. We did not insist that single payer supporters, including Conyers, be included in the White House summit on health care reform.
The implication is that the Communist group claims to have unnamed "allies" in Congress. It appears, too, that they are referring to the Progressive Caucus and John Conyers. The context is the single payer health coverage proposal supported by a number of Democratic members of the House, and which also seems to be supported by Communist Party USA.
The Progressive Caucus itself makes up almost a third of the Democratic members of the House of Representatives. Prominent members include: Barney Frank, Charlie Rangel, Dennis Kucinich, and Maxine Waters.