GOP leaders to conservatives: ‘How could you’?
The Republican conference erupted in anger Wednesday over how a conservative faction is undermining Speaker John Boehner’s debt ceiling plan.
Republican Study Committee chairman Jim Jordan apologized to members at a closed-door meeting because a junior RSC staffer, Wesley Goodman, earlier this week sent an email to conservative outside groups identifying which members were undecided on how they will vote on Boehner’s debt ceiling legislation. (RELATED: Conservatives face off over debt deal)
“There was a sense of frustration that, we’re on the same team, how could you do this?” says a source who was in the room.
When the subject of the email came up, one unidentified member of Congress yelled “Fire him!” about Goodman, who sent the email, the source said.
Additionally, Rep. Greg Walden read aloud from a separate email sent by Paul Teller, executive director of the RSC, charging him with hurting the party and disclosing privileged information.
Teller told Walden, “I’m not going to address that in this room,” according to the source.
Brian Straessle, a spokesman for Jordan, called the email from the junior staffer “inappropriate.”
“Earlier this week, an RSC staffer sent an inappropriate email to outside groups that identified members of Congress he believed were undecided on the debt reduction proposal offered by the Speaker. This action was clearly inappropriate and was not authorized by the Chairman or any other members of the staff. This has never been – and never will be – the way we do business at the RSC. We apologize to everyone affected, and we have already taken steps to ensure that it never happens again – either by this staffer or any other RSC staffer,” Straessle said.
Dan Holler, a spokesman for Heritage Action, one of the outside groups opposing Boehner’s debt ceiling plan, defended his group’s tactics.
“We see this as an amazing opportunity to get things right,” he said.
A second source says numerous members are threatening to leave RSC over the incident.