Conservative Republican Study Committee names new executive director
© Greg Nash

Republican Study Committee (RSC) Chairman Mark WalkerBradley (Mark) Mark WalkerOn The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Conservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Trump's Puerto Rico tweets spark backlash MORE (R-N.C.) announced Wednesday that Dan Ziegler, the managing director of government relations for Heritage Action for America, will serve as the RSC's new executive director starting later this month.

RSC staffers said Ziegler's experience working to advance the conservative movement made him a natural fit for the role. He has previously been employed by Freedom Partners, the American Energy Alliance, the Department of Interior and RSC member Rep. Doug LambornDouglas (Doug) LambornOvernight Defense: VA pick breezes through confirmation hearing | House votes to move on defense bill negotiations | Senate bill would set 'stringent' oversight on North Korea talks New fears over Chinese espionage grip Washington Races to watch in Tuesday’s primaries MORE (R-Colo.).

In his new position, Ziegler will be responsible for helping members of the House's largest GOP caucus steer legislation and the GOP agenda to the right, working with the different factions of the conference, the upper chamber and advocacy organizations to accomplish the group's goals.

"I'm close with each of the last four executive directors, obviously Scott [Parkinson], Will Dunham, Paul Teller and Russ Vought, so I'm excited to be able to step into the shoes of the guys who have come before me, hopefully I'm up to the task," Ziegler told The Hill, adding he believes the RSC "serves as the conservative conscience of the overall conference."

RSC communications director Alexei Woltornist said Ziegler's connections in Washington were a major draw for the conservative caucus, adding that the group's leaders are confident his credentials will help its members accomplish their priorities.

"Having conservative victories requires all teams on board — so you need the Senate, you need the outside groups, you need the House, you need the administration," he told The Hill. "And he has all of those, which are kind of necessary."

White House legislative affairs director Marc Short, who previously worked with Ziegler at Freedom Partners, said the administration is constantly working with the RSC on its legislative priorities, noting "they're a huge block of votes that are essential to our agenda." Short said he looks forward to working with Ziegler in his new role as the White House turns to issues including changes to the farm bill, repealing Dodd-Frank and the Veterans Choice Program in coming months.

"He's very earnest, very thoughtful and a true conservative. And so, He'll be a terrific fit at the RSC — he's extremely conscientious in his work," Short told The Hill. "And so I know that he will serve the membership really well, but it will also hopefully be a good relationship for us at the White House." 

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Ziegler is set to take over for Parkinson, who resigned after coming under fire for criticizing House GOP leadership at an off-the-record event hosted by the Heritage Foundation. While tensions with leadership may have led to his predecessor's departure, Ziegler said he's built positive relationships with their offices during his time at Heritage Action.

"I think that's part of our job, to try to steer that process, working with leadership and with the members of the [Republican National Committee] and steer those conversations along the way," he said. "They know they know where I'm at, they know that I'm going to be honest and tell them what I feel, but in a respectful way and that I'll be channeling the views of the RSC members."

Ed Feulner, the first RSC executive director and founder of the Heritage Foundation, said he thinks Ziegler will be effective in helping members with conservative messaging and advancing legislation that satisfies their base.

"The great characteristic of Dan is that he's low-key and he listens. And having held that job admittedly quite a while ago, the first requirement is to make sure that the members know their charge Dan will do that," he said. "He will work for them and represent them well — he's strong and he's a good manager."