Ted Cruz Hires Top Aide Fired by House Conservatives a Month Ago

National Journal
Shane Goldmacher
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Shane Goldmacher
Jan. 13, 2014, 6:41 a.m.

Sen. Ted Cruz loves to stick his fin­ger in the GOP es­tab­lish­ment’s eye, and he did so again on Monday, hir­ing a top Re­pub­lic­an op­er­at­ive who was fired just last month by House con­ser­vat­ives for leak­ing in­tern­al talks to out­side groups.

Cruz an­nounced that Paul Tell­er, who had spent a dec­ade as the ex­ec­ut­ive dir­ect­or of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee, the power­ful group of lead­ing House con­ser­vat­ives, will be his new deputy chief of staff.

“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 in a state­ment.

Tell­er was one of the most in­flu­en­tial aides in the House in re­cent years, as the rise of the tea party saw a swell­ing of the ranks of the Study Com­mit­tee. He had re­mained a top lieu­ten­ant for a string of Re­pub­lic­an chair­men and fought to en­sure that  the group did not drift left­ward as it ex­pan­ded.

But Tell­er was un­ce­re­mo­ni­ously fired in Decem­ber, amid the latest budget battle, for al­legedly leak­ing mem­ber-level talks to out­side groups that were agit­at­ing against a deal.

Some of those groups rose to de­fend him. “Paul Tell­er is an Amer­ic­an hero,” Andy Roth, vice pres­id­ent of gov­ern­ment af­fairs at the Club for Growth, said on Twit­ter.

Cruz likely won’t have to worry about Tell­er work­ing with out­side groups against his wishes. The Texas Re­pub­lic­an has co­ordin­ated very closely with those same con­ser­vat­ive act­iv­ists to amp­li­fy his hard-line mes­sage, most not­ably in the months lead­ing up to last Oc­to­ber’s gov­ern­ment shut­down, when he joined a Her­it­age-led na­tion­wide tour to sup­port the cut­ting off of funds for the new health care law.

“It is an hon­or and priv­ilege to work for Sen. Cruz,” Tell­er said in a state­ment. “His lead­er­ship is truly mo­tiv­at­ing, and I can’t wait to get star­ted on our col­lab­or­a­tion for liberty.”

Tell­er’s first day will be Thursday.

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