House Speaker Denies “Purging” Conservatives

WASHINGTON — Some Tea Party friendly Republicans complained this week that they were “purged” from key leadership positions, but Speaker John Boehner responded in a closed-door conference Wednesday that the members’ sin wasn’t “ideology” — it was disloyalty.

The House Steering Committee decision to unseat four members “was not done lightly,” Boehner told his conference, according to a Republican in the meeting. “This is something the Committee took seriously, and hopes never to have to do again,” the source said Boehner said.

The conservatives have claimed that Boehner is rejecting Tea Party principles — but the reality may have more to do with party discipline: Other outspoken conservatives kept their roles, while those punished had already been in Boehner’s black book for, in one case, allegedly leaking an embarrassing story about his colleagues.

“The Committee’s decision had nothing to do with ideology. For those suggesting otherwise, I’d respectfully suggest that you look at some of the people the Steering Committee put in charge of committees. I’d also suggest you look at some of the members who were added to the committees by the Steering Committee. If you do that and come away with the conclusion that there was a ‘conservative purge,’ I’d be interested hearing the rationale,” Boehner added, according to the source.

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