Defying GOP Establishment, Ted Cruz Hires RSC Budget Deal Leaker

Monday, 13 Jan 2014 06:39 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, thumbing his nose at top House Republicans, is hiring the executive director of the Republican Study Committee who leaked conversations on the budget deal to outside conservative groups.

Cruz said in a statement Monday that Paul Teller, axed in December for sharing private emails to build opposition to the bipartisan budget deal, would join his office, two reports said.

"Paul's many years of experience working in Congress and his tireless work to advance conservative principles make him a tremendous addition to our team," Cruz said. "I look forward to working with him to keep making Texans' voices heard in Washington and to promote a positive policy agenda that will restore economic growth, rein in government overreach, and protect Americans' personal liberties."

In the same statement, Teller called it "an honor and privilege" to work for Cruz, saying: "His leadership is truly motivating, and I can't wait to get started on our collaboration for liberty."

Politico called the hiring an illustration of the bond between the conservative wing of the House and conservative senators like Cruz, a relationship that helped fuel the GOP's attempt to defund Obamacare and then led to last fall's government shutdown, while Roll Call noted it was "the latest move showing [Cruz] doesn't particularly care what top House Republicans think."

Cruz received flak from GOP leaders for encouraging a government shutdown over Obamacare last fall, culminating with Cruz meeting with 15-20 House Republicans to discuss strategy.

Teller also came under fire during the 2011 debt ceiling crisis when he sent emails to outside groups to get lawmakers to oppose a proposal crafted by Republican House Speaker John Boehner. During a Republican Conference meeting at the time, members chanted "fire him."

Teller starts his new job Thursday.

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