The Freedom Caucus has its eyes on the brass ring — control of the Republican Study Committee.
According to Politico, the conservative branch of House Republicans is considering an opportunity to run one of its members for the chairmanship of the RSC, the largest GOP group on the Hill at 180 members.
Or the 40-person strong caucus might just leave the RSC altogether.
At issue: the Freedom Caucus thinks the RSC has lost its conservative way and serves at the pleasure of House Speaker Paul Ryan.
"Do we restore the RSC into a conservative wing of the conference that forges policy? Or do we just give up on RSC?" said Rep. John Fleming, R-La., telling Politico the committee has "changed over the last couple terms to be much less independent and more under leadership's guidance."
Running for and winning the chairmanship would be another major coup for the 2-year-old Caucus still reeling from losses to its ranks, most notably Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas who lost in his primary.
A loss the Caucus puts directly at the feet of Ryan, who's up for a floor vote in January to remain Speaker.
Having already ousted former House Speaker John Boehner, the Caucus could really cement its power with the chairmanship of the RSC and heap a lot of pressure onto Ryan as January fast approaches.
"He has to earn my vote, and he has not earned it yet," one anonymous caucus member told The Hill. "The question many of us have is whether his leadership is any different than Boehner's."
The Caucus is already pressuring Ryan to back an impeachment vote of IRS commissioner John Koskinen, and with the Sept. 30 deadline looming to fund the government, The Hill reports the Caucus is daring Ryan to work with Democrats to avoid a shutdown.
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