Ben Quayle: Club for Growth in a "Highly Questionable Role" as Referee in Primary Race

Thumbnail image for benquayle40yroldvirgin.jpg
Congressman Ben Quayle offered a response to the conservative political-action committee Club for Growth's apparent threat to GOP leadership not to favor Quayle over Congressman David Schweikert in their primary match.

Yesterday, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola released a letter he sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, telling them not to favor Quayle over Schweikert in the primary, or Club for Growth would have to throw its support behind Schweikert.

"Should it become apparent that you are choosing sides on behalf of Rep. Quayle, the Club for Growth PAC will consider it necessary to intervene on behalf of Rep. Schweikert," Chocola writes. "As is our practice, if the Club's PAC entered this primary, it is highly likely that our 75,000 members would donate considerably more funds to Rep. Schweikert's campaign than the Republican House leadership would contribute to Rep. Quayle's campaign.

Quayle has a bit of an issue with that.

In a letter from Quayle to Chocola obtained by New Times, Quayle notes that he actually has a higher score on Club for Growth's own legislative "scorecard" than Schweikert does.

Quayle's 16th at 98 percent, and Schweikert's 31st at 93 percent.

"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," Quayle writes. "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."

Quayle says he "was not aware that the Club's mission includes dictating to high-ranking officials who they may and may not support," and asks Chocola how far this is going to go.

"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," Quayle says. "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?"

What Quayle doesn't point out is that one of Schweikert's campaign consultants, Chris Baker, and Schweikert's chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, both used to work for Club for Growth.

What that has to do with Club for Growth's apparent favoring for Schweikert, if anything, would be speculation, but we'll just point it out.

Read Quayle's entire letter to Chocola below:

The Honorable Chris Chocola
Club for Growth
2001 L Street, NW
Suite 600
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.

Sincerely,

Congressman Ben Quayle


My Voice Nation Help
8 comments

Now Trending

Phoenix Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...