A strongly worded letter seems to be all it takes to get a check for five grand out of House Speaker John Boehner, as the feud over GOP leadership's support of Valley Congressman Ben Quayle appears to have ended quickly.
The president of the conservative political-action committee Club for Growth released a letter earlier in the week -- sent to House Speaker John Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy -- telling them not to favor Quayle over Congressman David Schweikert in the primary, or Club for Growth would have to throw its support behind Schweikert.
Boehner already had given $10,000 to Quayle through his leadership PAC, and the Club for Growth seemed to threaten giving financial support to Schweikert if leadership didn't support both congressmen equally in their primary battle.
As we pointed out yesterday, one of Schweikert's campaign consultants, Chris Baker, and Schweikert's chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, both used to work for Club for Growth.
As Quayle pointed out yesterday, he's ranked higher than Schweikert on Club for Growth's own scale of legislator scores.
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 asked Club for Growth President Chris 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?"
Quayle scored a 98 on the Club for Growth's own scorecard, five points higher than Schweikert.
As with all "scorecards" for legislators from these groups, they're not exactly objective.
Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, who could easily be pegged as the most conservative (and awesomely transparent) member of Congress, received the same 100-percent score as Arizona Congressman Trent Franks, even though they vote differently on about every one in five votes.
Still, it's Club for Growth's own internal scoring, and it favors Quayle.
But the squabble -- at least over this issue -- appears to be over.
One of Schweikert's consultants -- who happened to pull in more than a quarter-million dollars from Club for Growth between 2004 and 2007 -- told the Arizona Capitol Times Boehner's PAC cut a check for $5,000 to Schweikert.
Baker told the Cap Times they thought it was "terrific" that Boehner forked over the money.
On the other hand, this dispute is the second time in recent weeks that GOP leadership has been accused of giving Quayle a benefit over Schweikert, but both times, someone caused a stink on Schweikert's behalf.
Democratic Congressman Jim Himes raised the issue that Congressman Ben Quayle was being credited for a bill very similar to his own, saying Quayle's portion of the Republicans' JOBS Act being "nearly an exact replica" of a bill Himes authored.
Quayle's office denied the accusation to New Times, calling it "ridiculous," while the argument took to the House floor.
Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank claimed the bill had been "kidnapped" by Republican leadership from Himes -- and Schweikert. We were later told by Himes' office that Himes and Schweikert had collaborated on the bill.
"Apparently the Republican leadership decided it was Christmas in March," Frank said. "So they stole the bill from Mr. Schweikert and Mr. Himes, and made a present of it to the gentleman from Arizona, Mr. Quayle."
Nothing came of that except finger-pointing, and we'll mention again that if you'd like to listen to Quayle and Schweikert bicker amongst themselves, they've already begun holding debates, with another one scheduled for Sunday afternoon.