In an odd piece by the Breitbart News Network, “anonymous” congressional aides, who once worked for Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) in the Republican Study Committee (RSC) where the conservative is Chairman, attack him for wanting to run for Majority Whip and attempt to portray him as a politician that’s in it for himself.
As if a Louisiana conservative is not good enough for conservatives in the fight to take back the House GOP Leadership, Breitbart reports that his own aides have concerns about his “ideological purity.” Here’s a snippet of Breitbart’s attempt to slay Scalise as an insincere conservative:
In interviews with four aides who worked for Scalise while he helmed the study group, the staffers, who spoke under the condition of anonymity to avoid retaliation, described being actively prevented from working towards the RSC’s traditional goal of moving the GOP conference and its leadership to the right.
Scalise, they said, would instruct his office to soften criticism of even policies he personally disagreed with in order to reduce political exposure to the RSC’s fairly broad membership – as well as make life easier for GOP leadership.
A leading point of contention were the RSC’s “legislative bulletins,” which include detailed summaries of each bill and amendment, including any “conservative concerns” the RSC had about those bills.
The guides have long been valued reading to GOP lawmakers, and under past chairmen, the bulletins had the power to sway a lot of votes. But the documents have become watered down under Scalise, former aides said.
“Staff were encouraged as a whole not to issue conservative concerns. It created almost a policy of appeasement in RSC with a clear goal of trying to elevate Scalise personally,” says a former RSC staffer who chafed under the restrictions.
“Trying to get conservative concerns in a legislative bulletin at all under Chairman Scalise was practically impossible,” a second former RSC staffer said.
What stands out as odd, is the fact that these congressional aides are essentially trying to put down a conservative for “not being as aggressive” when it came to pushing a conservative agenda under the RSC. But, Scalise has in fact been a strident conservative.
Strangely enough, the most credible piece of information in the report was put all the way at the bottom, where one would have to search for it. It involves a quote from a former aide that said Scalise simply ran the RSC differently than past chairmens, but that did not make him a phony conservative.
“Different Chairmen lead differently. Jim Jordan, the previous chairman, had his staff on a long leash, allowing them the freedom to do whatever they wanted. Scalise, on the other hand, wanted a tighter-run shop, so he had a much shorter leash for his staffers. His personal staffers have always been kept on a short leash. Having free reign and then being put under closer watch definitely rubbed some RSC staffers the wrong way, but the motivation was not malicious, merely a different leadership style,” the aide said.
Also mentioned is Scalise’s decision to fire congressional aide Paul Teller, who is considered by Breitbart as an “American hero” for conservatives. The report attempts to explain Scalise’s decision based on his distaste for Teller. But the truth is that Scalise fired Teller because he was leaking information “about internal deliberations to outside conservative groups.”
It also cites that Scalise fired about seven other congressional aides with the RSC.
But, the question stands: Does this make Scalise a phony, only looking out for himself? And, more importantly, why would Breitbart try to slay a conservative from a red state who is vying for a position in the establishment-based House GOP Leadership?