Sean Spicer, Director of Communications at the Republican National Committee, told Breitbart News Friday that the comments RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields made on Tuesday about “the professional right” and the conservative grassroots were “inartful.”
“Mike was attempting to reference the beltway professionals whose focus is solely to make a profit off the party and movement and don’t share the same desire to win and enact conservative policies,” Spicer stated.
“After four years at the NRCC seeing firsthand the powerful positive effect the tea party and grassroots conservatives had in regaining the House majority he was trying – albeit somewhat in artfully – to make a clear distinction between the inside the beltway professionals and the thousands of conservative grassroots activists like his mom that give of their time and treasure to elect conservatives.”
Spicer did not deny that Shields made the comments reported in Breitbart News’s Thursday article.
Shields’s criticisms of “the professional right” on Tuesday, however, seemed to be aimed at organizations such as FreedomWorks and Tea Party Patriots, who have ties to local conservatives grassroots activists and frequently send fundraising appeals to their large mailing lists of supporters. Unlike organizations such as FLS Connect and Targeted Victory, which received over $150 million from the RNC and the Romney campaign during the 2012 campaign, neither FreedomWorks nor Tea Party Patriots are political consulting firms.
Shields’s predecessor as Chief of Staff at the RNC, Jeff Larson, was a founder and partner at FLS Connect from its inception in 1999 until November 2010, just three months before he came to the RNC as Chief of Staff in February 2011. Larson remains a senior adviser to the RNC.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call