Conservatives: We’re ‘under attack’ on Hill
By: Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman
December 11, 2013 06:46 PM EST
Conservative activists are hitting back.
More than 50 high profile conservatives signed onto a statement Wednesday responding to both House Speaker John Boehner’s harsh words for conservative groups earlier in the day and to the firing of the Republican Study Committee’s long-time executive director Paul Teller.
“It is clear that the conservative movement has come under attack on Capitol Hill today,” the statement reads.
Speaker John Boehner called it “ridiculous” Wednesday that outside conservative groups oppose a budget deal crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).
RSC Chairman Steve Scalise dismissed Teller later in the day over accusations that Teller was leaking intel to the groups.
“We are saddened and outraged that an organization that purports to represent conservatives in Congress would dismiss a staff member for advancing conservatism and working with conservatives outside of Congress,” the leaders’ statement reads. “Paul Teller is one of the true heroes of the conservative movement. For over a decade, he has been the guiding light of conservatism on Capitol Hill. No one has done more to advance conservative principles and block the liberal agenda than Paul Teller. In the tradition of President Reagan, he is a true happy warrior who is both forceful and courageous.”
The effort was put together by the Conservative Action Project, a weekly gathering of more than 100 CEOS of organizations representing conservative movement, economic, national security and social groups. Co-signers include: Ed Meese, former attorney general under President Ronald Reagan; former Rep. David McIntosh (R-Ind.); Brent Bozell, chairman of For America; Mike Needham, CEO of Heritage Action for America; and Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring.
Scalise asked for Teller’s resignation Wednesday and announced the veteran aides departure at a Republican Study Committee meeting. The group has long been the bastion of the right-wing strategy on Capitol Hill. Teller was fired for leaking member-level conversations to outside groups, according to a senior Republican aide.
This isn’t the first time that Teller has come under scrutiny for his political tactics. Republican lawmakers chanted “fire him” in July 2011 after emails he sent urging outside groups to pressure conservative lawmakers to oppose a a debt proposal crafted by Boehner.
Still, Teller was applauded by many conservative activists and was widely well-regarded among the movement. Many conservatives, including Erick Erickson and Club for Growth’s Andy Roth, came to his aide on social media Wednesday afternoon.