U.S. News and World Report will begin referring to Brian Walsh, an operative who works for several different GOP establishment organizations, as a staffer for the NRSC.
“U.S. News & World Report will start disclosing that columnist Brian Walsh, a former National Republican Senatorial Committee communications director, is still on the NRSC payroll, following an inquiry from POLITICO,” Politico’s Dylan Byers wrote on Tuesday. “Since April, the NRSC has been giving Walsh $5,000 a month for communications, strategy and consulting, according to FEC filings. Walsh’s bio at U.S. News refers to him as ‘a government relations and public affairs strategist in Washington DC,’ but does not mention that he is being paid by the Republican party.”
Walsh was the communications director the NRSC in both the 2010 and 2012 election cycles, then left the outfit to found political consulting firm Townline Strategies and work for bipartisan firm Singer Bonjean founded by former Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) aide Phil Singer. According to the firm’s website, Singer was “part of a team that orchestrated the Democratic takeover of the Senate in 2006.”
Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show that Walsh’s Townline Strategies has been getting $5,000 a month from the NRSC since April, technically meaning he is still paid by the organization to do much the same work–“communications strategy consulting” or “communications consulting”–according to the various FEC records.
Walsh had started drafting columns for U.S. News and World Report after he left the NRSC officially, but during the timeframe he has been being paid by the organization. Walsh has used his position of influence, and those columns, to target conservatives like the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) and the Heritage Foundation. Before conservatives expressed outrage and NRSC executive director Rob Collins walked the moves back, Walsh took to Twitter to back up the NRSC’s efforts to cut off business to political vendor firm Jamestown Associates because it worked with SCF.
U.S. News and World Report spokeswoman Lucy Lyons told Politico that Walsh failed to disclose to them he was being paid by the GOP’s Senate committee, but the group will be adding disclosures that he is an official GOP staffer after this development to his columns. “Walsh’s affiliation with the NRSC and role as a Republican strategist are identified in his blurb, but he did not disclose his role with the NRSC to us,” Lyons said. “We would absolutely have disclosed this and are going back through and adding disclosures to the pieces he has written for us.”
Lyons added that U.S. News “recently solicited updated information from our freelancers, asking them to disclose potential conflicts of interest. These are due back in mid-November, at which point we will update bios as needed.”
Walsh attempted to pin the blame for this development on SCF. “As a longtime Republican strategist it’s never been a secret that I try to help Republicans win and Democrats lose,” Walsh told Politico. “So no one has ever questioned my motives but clearly purity for profit groups like the Senate Conservatives Fund are increasingly worried that more and more Republicans are exposing theirs.” But Byers noted in his piece that he, and Politico, “did not correspond with anyone from the SCF for this report.”
The NRSC’s communications director Brad Dayspring defended Walsh. “He was here the last four years and was in the Senate for years prior to that,” Dayspring said to Politico. “He provides institutional knowledge to the committee and knows the playbook of our Democratic opponents from cover to cover.”
Breitbart News had been inquiring about Walsh’s current payments from the NRSC for several days as well, and in response to those questions, Dayspring said in an email to Breitbart News on Sunday night: “The tea party and grassroots conservatives are the backbone of the Republican coalition and essential to our electoral success. Our mission is simple: Winning elections. Every cycle is different, every race is different, but each and every decision we make is because we feel it is necessary to defeat Democrats. Each moment spent engaging in internecine Republican back-and-forths is one not spent focused on the real threat to liberty – the leftists working night and day to defeat us.”
Via Twitter, this reporter noted this weekend how the NRSC back in 2009 under Walsh’s and others’ tutelage had endorsed Charlie Crist in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate against Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). Crist has since left the GOP to become a Democrat and is attempting to run for governor of Florida as a Democrat again.
In response to that Tweet, Dayspring said that the decision to endorse Crist had “nothing” to do with him and that there is an “entirely new team here” from the 2010 and 2012 cycles. “We have an entirely new team here,” Dayspring added in another Tweet. “Entirely.”
With this development from Politico and U.S. News and World Report, that Walsh is technically still an NRSC staffer because of the fact he is being paid $5,000 a month by the organization to do exactly what he did before, it raises questions about the accuracy of Dayspring’s statement.