Boehner Won’t Be Attending Anti-Tea Party PAC’s Ritzy Florida Retreat

March 26, 2014 - 4:06 PM

Boehner, Cantor, McCarthy

Left to right: House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) (Andrew Stiles/AP)

(CNSNews.com) – House Speaker John Boehner will not be attending a weekend retreat hosted by The Republican Mainstreet Partnership PAC -- whose goal is to elect moderate GOP candidates and protect Republican incumbents from Tea Party challengers -- because of a scheduling conflict, a GOP aide told CNSNews.com.

But Boehner's top two lieutenants, Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), are listed as speakers on the agenda for the April 11-13th event, which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton on Amelia Island, Fla.

CNSNews.com’s repeated calls and emails to Cantor and McCarthy to confirm their attendance at the weekend getaway were not returned.

An aide to Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) said that he will be attending the gathering, but there was no response from Republican Congressmen Fred Upton (R-Mich.) or Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), who are also listed as participants at the PAC event.

Although no details or topics of discussion were listed on the agenda beyond “Welcome,” Break-Out Sessions,” “Political Overview,” “Ways and Means Overview,” and “Game Night,” an emailed invitation obtained by CNSNews.com stated that the goal of the gathering is to “bolster our incumbents who are under attack from the far right, and ensure that we hold on to seats represented by pragmatic Republicans that we would otherwise loose [sic] if there was an ultra-conservative in the general runoff.”

The invitation added that “people that are attending have donated $5,000 to the PAC.”

Former Ohio congressman Steve LaTourette is a member of the PAC’s board, which “supports Republican candidates who are fiscally conservative and take a pragmatic, common-sense approach to social issues.”

Steve LaTourette

Former Ohio Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, president of The Main Street Partnership. (AP photo)

Last November, LaTourette, who is also president of an affiliated group called Main Street Advocacy, blamed the Tea Party and conservative groups that supported it for “waging a vicious intra-party civil war that has cost the Republican Party control of the U.S. Senate.”

LaTourette added that the group’s anti-Tea Party digital ad campaign was just the “opening salvo” in an $8 million effort to “fight back” against “the far right’s attempts to purge the GOP of people they find to be ‘imperfect’.”

LaTourette also heads The Main Street Partnership, which has donated $2.1 million to candidates since 2000, according to Open Secrets.

Main Street Partnership’s website says it is “aligned with the governing wing of the Republican Party and centrist policymakers.” Members include “moderate” Republican Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ).

LaTourette, who is also president of lobbying firm McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies and a “close friend” of Boehner, recently taunted the Club for Growth for targeting Main Street Partnership member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for a primary challenge because of his voting record on key conservative issues, including the Ryan-Murray budget deal.

According to Open Secrets, LaTourette’s group spent $20,000 this year to support Kinzinger against Tea Party challenger David Hale.

“The Club for Growth launched a ‘Primary My Congressman’ campaign that was aimed at 10 Republican members of Congress that have had the audacity to govern on behalf of their constituents rather than at the behest of the New York and DC millionaire special interests at the Club for Growth,” LaTourette said in a March 19 press release.

“So far the Club is a perfect 0 for 2, and losing is something the Club for Growth should get used to – last night’s losses are just the beginning.”

But Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller told CNSNews.com that his group did not make any endorsements in the Kinzinger-Hale contest. “How can we lose primary races we weren’t involved in?” he asked.

Main Street Advocacy also spent $18,303 to defeat Michigan Tea Party candidate Jack Hoogendyk, who unsuccessfully ran against Upton in the Republican House primary during the 2011-2012 election cycle, according to Open Secrets.