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FILE - In this June 17, 2011 file photo, Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. speaks in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Heritage Foundation barred from weekly conservative meetings

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Conservatives on Capitol Hill are buzzing about the news that employees of the Heritage Foundation are no longer allowed to attend a weekly closed-door meeting with a group of conservative House lawmakers.

The National Journal reported this week that those affiliated with the large conservative think tank and its political arm, Heritage Action, are now barred from attending Republican Study Committee weekly meetings.

The RSC is made up of 172 conservative House members. The group’s weekly meetings for lawmakers aren’t open to outsiders, but Heritage has traditionally been allowed to attend for years, as former Heritage president Ed Feulner helped found both organizations.

The National Journal story references disagreements with Heritage and the RSC over the recent farm bill vote as the reason RSC chairman Steve Scalise no longer allows Heritage employees at the meeting.

But those with knowledge of the situation downplayed the significance of the news in interviews with The Daily Caller.

“Not a whole lot has changed,” said Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, told TheDC. “We’ll continue working with folks as we head into the fiscal fight drama stuff this year, the farm bill stuff. The big takeaway of it is really that it’s symbolic. Nothing’s really changed.”

Heritage Foundation spokesman Mike Gonzalez said the decision to keep Heritage out of the meeting happened about two months ago, but that Heritage and the RSC still work well together.

“By the time it happened, it was considered a non event by those involved,” Heritage Foundation spokesman Mike Gonzalez told The Daily Caller.

“Heritage Action along with the Heritage Foundation continues to have a deep and productive relationship with lawmakers both on the Republican Study Committee and off the Republican Study Committee,” he said.

Likewise, the RSC downplayed the ouster of Heritage from the weekly meetings.

“The Heritage Foundation and the RSC have a longstanding relationship in developing and promoting conservative solutions to the problems facing our nation, and we are proud to continue that tradition to this day through regular joint events and briefings,” Stephen Bell, spokesman for the RSC, told the National Journal.

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