The Club for Growth issued its letter to the House leadership yesterday, demanding that they equalize their support for Reps. Quayle and David Schweikert (R-CD5-running-for-new-CD6) in the primary race and then maintaining neutrality. The text of CFG's short letter is here.
Quayle has received a $10,000 contribution from House Speaker John Boehner, but fellow conservative frosh lawmaker Schweikert has not yet received his.
Quayle calls on the Club's board to make a "full inquiry" into why CFG President Chris Chocola suddenly issued his demand, and notes that he, Quayle, is more deserving of the Club's support, anyway. Here is the text of Quayle's letter:
The Honorable Chris Chocola
Club for Growth
2001 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
SENT VIA MAIL AND FACSIMILE
Dear Mr. Chocola,
I have reviewed the letter you sent House leadership yesterday regarding the primary race in Arizona’s newly-drawn 6th Congressional District. The correspondence is astonishing on several levels.
First, as you well know, I have received a higher legislative score from the Club For Growth than Congressman Schweikert, to go along with a higher ranking as well from the National Journal, which found there to be no more conservative member of Congress than me. It is therefore quite a contortion for you, as the Club’s president, to now threaten on any basis the provision of financial support to my primary opponent.
It is still more of a contortion for you to so threaten on the basis of leadership support for my campaign. First, I have been under the impression that the Club For Growth was formed by its founders, funded by its members and directed by its board to support pro-growth candidates. I was not aware that the Club's mission includes dictating to high-ranking officials who they may and may not support. It is ironic that an organization founded in principles of freedom and limited government could have come to such a dictatorial turn.
This new, self-appointed role for the Club raises a number of questions. For example, Sen. Jon Kyl, a member of Senate leadership and perhaps the leading Arizona exponent of pro-growth and conservative policy since Barry Goldwater, has enthusiastically endorsed my candidacy in this race. Can Sen. Kyl now expect a similar cease-and-desist letter from you and the Club, together with a threat to shower my lower-rated opponent with Club funds, should he not withdraw this support?
So far as House leadership is concerned, moreover, it seems that your fears may be badly misplaced. In the most recent policy matter in which Congressman Schweikert and I differed -- Barack Obama’s misbegotten payroll tax deal -- it was Schweikert, not I, who voted with the leadership and Obama. I cast the more pro-growth and fiscally responsible vote, in this case a “no.” Schweikert, alone among Arizona Republicans, voted for this non-growth, deficit-expanding policy that is contrary to sound economic and tax policy. Isn’t this exactly the kind of voting behavior that the Club was founded to discourage and marginalize in favor of more reliable representatives in Congress?
Your correspondence points out that both Congressman Schweikert and I have pro-growth voting records, and I will not quibble over that. Nevertheless, you neglect to mention in correspondence threatening to throw him financial support that my legislative rating from the Club is in fact higher than his. This cannot be a mere oversight and must be a contrived omission.
I urge you and your board and members to reconsider the path your letter seems to set for the Club. Your mission is important and the work of the Club has borne fruit, over time, for the free-market and limited government principles which we share and for which I have fought hard in Congress. In light of my superior Club rating I would expect, if anything, to receive the Club’s support over my opponent in this race; it is certainly odd to read instead this letter, apparently delivered to the media prior to its delivery to the leadership. I hope that the Club will maintain its vital mission, rather than seek for itself some highly questionable role as the imperious referee of Republican support in primary races, and I further hope that your board will make a full inquiry as to exactly how this correspondence came about.
Congressman Ben Quayle
This fascinating battle is just starting to heat up. Both between Reps. Quayle and Schweikert, AND between the Club for Growth and the Republican leadership. In many ways, the CD6 primary race is simply a battlefield in what is becoming a national war in the Republican party.
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