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Report: Secret NRCC consultants abandoning GOP candidates

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 27, 2008 12:59 PM

Back in May, you helped give the National Republican Congressional Committee the spanking it deserved.

Looks like it’s time to get out the paddle again.

John Gizzi at Human Events reports that a special unit of the NRCC is making stealth decisions to abandon conservative Republican candidates.

The Stupid Party: Its own worst enemy.

Read:

In just this week, the word has come that this has been the fate of several embattled lawmakers. Twenty-four hours after learning of the pull-out from Bachmann’s district, I also had confirmed from spokeswoman Karen Hanretty that the NRCC deployed an “exit strategy” in the districts of Republican Reps. Marilyn Musgrave (Col.) and Tom Feeney (Fla.). Like Bachmann. both are in the political fights of their life and both are conservative swashbucklers of long-standing: Musgrave is one of the premier cultural conservatives in the House and Feeney, who gained national attention as speaker of the Florida House of Representatives during the contested election of 2000, founded the House Conservative Fund (HCF) in Congress.

What is more startling than the pulling of the ads in the districts of all three is who made the decision and how it was done. In separate conversations, both Chairman Cole and the NRCC’s Hanretty told me that the pullout was decided on not by the chairman himself or House Members on the NRCC board but — are you ready for this — an “IE [for “Independent Expenditure”] Unit” of private consultants who make the decisions outside the NRCC offices.

IE Unit? No oversight by Cole and Company? You got it. In fact, in confirming that the NRCC was out of the districts of Musgrave and Feeney, Hanretty e-mailed me: “The IE Unit [Italics added] pulled reserved time in both districts.”

When Cole explained to me that the decision on Bachmann had nothing to do with her remarks on Matthews’ program and that he himself had given her substantial donations from his political action committee (“We did not cut and run on Michele”), he also explained that the decision on pulling back NRCC-reserved ads came from this “IE Unit.”

Because of the complex campaign finance laws (“and they are stupid!” he added), in part crafted by John McCain and signed into law by George W. Bush, Cole noted, a separate body from the NRCC has to make the decisions on where to invest funding and how much to do it with.

If that leaves you bewildered, get this:

When I asked who they are specifically, the Oklahoman explained: “They are a group of private political consultants, some of them very conservative. And they work out of a building separate from our headquarters.”

Swell. Can you tell me who they are, I asked?

“No, I’m not going to do that,” Cole said with a chuckle, “I’m sure you know a lot of them. Maybe after the election I’ll tell you. But right now, I don’t want to subject them to a lot of harassment.”

The NRCC blog is here.

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