Ari Fleischer Stonewalls Breitbart's Request for Answers About RNC's 'Autopsy' Committee
Last Monday Ari Fleischer, former press secretary to George W. Bush, was named by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to be one of five committee chairs for what had been billed as a "full autopsy" of the Republican 2012 election efforts but is now called the RNC "Growth and Opportunity Project."
In his new role, Mr. Fleischer appears eager to speak with liberal media outlets, but so far has refused to answer any questions posed by Breitbart News, which has run a series of stories highly critical of the crony consultant culture that has permeated the Republican National Committee for many years.
Within hours of the announcement that he had been named as one of the five chairs of the RNC committee on Monday, Mr. Fleischer gave an extensive interview to CNN, where he is also employed as a paid contributor.
On Tuesday, Mr. Fleischer spoke extensively to the Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin about his role as one of the five chairs of this effort. Here's her summary of that conversation:
I asked co-chair Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary, if the committee chairs were given any parameters. Could they, for example, recommend a major policy shift or propose redoing the primary process? He said, “The chairman has charged us with thinking big.” However, he conceded, “We are not a policy committee.”
That said, Fleischer explained that while exit polls showed conservatives outnumber liberals 35 to 25 percent, too many “growing sections of the electorate” are turned off from the GOP. “We have a problem,” he said bluntly. He said this is not like past post-election efforts. “There is new urgency when you look back at an election so many people thought would have ended differently.” He nevertheless cautions that the GOP did win big in 2010. Perhaps heightened concern, but not panic, should be the order of the day. He is convinced that “all of these [problems] are solvable.”
On Wednesday, Breitbart News requested a comment from Mr. Fleischer through his assistant (who confirmed the request had been forwarded to Mr. Fleischer) on these seven questions about his plans for the RNC "Autopsy" Committee:
Please consider this a request to Mr. Fleischer for comment from Breitbart News about his new responsibilities as one of the chairs of the RNC ‘Autopsy’ Committee.
I've published several stories about the conflicts of interest between senior staffers at the Romney campaign, the RNC and a few key vendors who've been paid more than $150 million over the current election cycle.
This morning, I began a new series on the RNC 'Autopsy.' Here's the first story in that series:
RNC 'Autopsy' Looks Like an Inside Job
I’ve included 7 specific questions for Mr. Fleischer below. I’m on deadline, so a timely response would be much appreciated. Either email or phone works. Please forward these 7 questions for Mr. Fleischer, 3 of which I’ve already tweeted to him on Twitter:
@michaelpleahy Request for comment: Will you investigate RNC & vendors conflict of interest?
2. How will donors and grassroots activists have confidence in the RNC if it appears that critical resources were diverted from the all important ground game—which was a debacle—to ineffective “make work” activities performed by a telemarketing vendor (FLS Connect) and a digital vendor (Targeted Victory) with close ties to RNC and Romney campaign? – Larson at RNC, Beeson and Moffat at Romney. These two firms were paid well over $150 million during the recent campaign by the three Romney organizations.
This apparent conflict of interest harms the public’s perception of the RNC’s integrity.
@michaelpleahy Request for comment: Why are failed Romney gurus in charge of separate 'Online Media Autopsy'?
@michaelpleahy Request for comment: Why was 1/3 of RNC's final 5 weeks of spending with 1 telemarketing firm?
5. No one on the committee has significant contemporary ground game experience. And yet, that’s the first area you’re charged to investigate. Will you bring in outside experts to assist your evaluation of that? If so, who?
6. Will you determine who authorized, managed, and was paid to develop the failed ORCA software program?
7. Will you ask Jeff Larson, RNC Chief of Staff, to provide proof that he no longer has any interest whatsoever in RNC’s virtually exclusive telecommunications vendor, FLS Connect?
Mr. Fleischer, who was quick to offer his insights to the Washington Post and CNN, has not yet responded to our request. We called his office again on Friday morning asking once more for a response about the mandate of the RNC's "Fleischer Report", but no one in his office returned our call prior to publication of this story.