RSC axes executive director over leaks

A high-ranking conservative operative lost his job as executive director of the Republican Study Committee (RSC).

Longtime RSC executive director Paul Teller was fired Wednesday morning for allegedly leaking information to the press, "violating the trust" of his respective employers on numerous occasions, according to numerous sources familiar with the situation.  

A senior GOP aide told The Hill that Teller actively undermined members of the RSC when he disagreed on certain bills sponsored by RSC members. 

"He did it too many times, it wasn't just that he leaked (information) to the press, it was that he was actively whipping against bills sponsored by the members who paid his salary," the aide explained.  

RSC Chairman Steve Scalise (R-La.) announced Teller's firing at the conservative caucus' weekly luncheon, according to lawmakers attending the closed-door meeting. 

Scalise did not delve into details of the termination but told members with questions to speak with him one-on-one. 

Several lawmakers took up the offer, relaying Scalise's explanation to The Hill. 

According to a lawmaker familiar with the situation, Teller has "been doing this forever," but this time he was caught with documentation.  

The lawmaker would not specify which emails were used as justification for Teller's firing, only stating that, "there are documents, written proof" that Teller had been leaking information to outside groups.

Late Wednesday, RSC co-founder Sam Johnson (R – Texas) released a statement supporting Teller's firing.

"Steve has done a great job as RSC Chairman, standing up for freedom and free enterprise at every turn.  He posses the stature, experience and vision necessary to continue leading the RSC and uphold our bedrock principles.  I have complete confidence in his leadership and support his decision," Johnson wrote.

Conservative group Tea Party Patriots said Teller's ouster was "a shot to conservatives and Tea Party Members who are not part of the establishment," the organization said in a statement Wednesday evening.

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Teller worked at the RSC for over a decade, and the terse news of his firing was "unexpected" to many attendees. 

One lawmaker told The Hill that "apparently" Scalise and Teller did not get along very well. The pair "did not see eye to eye."

Another lawmaker said "the bottom line is that Steve Scalise got elected as chairman of the RSC, and the two of them did not establish a working relationship they needed."

Scalise did not announce Teller's successor.

"Right now we have really good staff," Scalise said in an interview with The Hill. "There are a lot of good people that want to fight to help advance conservative causes and help us within the RSC to be a part of what's a great 40 year tradition."

This story was updated at 4:45 p.m.