Rep. Ben Quayle, R-Ariz., slammed the Club for Growth on Thursday for warning the House GOP leadership to stay out of his incumbent-versus-incumbent primary with fellow freshman Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.
In a letter to Club for Growth president Chris Chocola, Quayle accused the group of hypocrisy for interfering with the leadership's potential involvement in his primary.
"It is ironic that an organization founded in principles of freedom and limited government could have come to such a dictatorial turn," Quayle wrote. "I was not aware that the Club's mission includes dictating to high-ranking officials who they may and may not support. It is ironic that an organization founded in principles of freedom and limited government could have come to such a dictatorial turn."
House Majority Eric Cantor, R-Va., caught flak from conservative activist groups after he endorsed Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., over Rep. Donald Manzullo, R-Ill., in a similar member-versus-member primary. Kinzinger defeated Manzullo earlier this week. On Wednesday, the Club for Growth warned Cantor and other members of the House leadership team against picking sides again in Quayle's upcoming fight with Schweikert.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, donated to Quayle late last year. The House leadership bounced Schweikert from his deputy whip slot.
"Should it become apparent that you are choosing sides on behalf of Rep. Quayle, the Club for Growth PAC will consider it necessary to intervene on behalf of Rep. Schweikert," Chocola, a former Indiana Republican House member. "We will not sit back and allow House Republican leaders to invest resources with impunity against an incumbent fiscal conservative."
In addition to calling for the leadership to stay neutral, the Club for Growth requested that it forbid a Cantor-aligned super PAC, YG Action Fund, from any involvement in the primary and donate $10,000 to Schweikert.
Quayle also noted that he had higher legislative ratings from the Club for Growth, indicating that if anyone should receive help from the group, it should be him.
"In light of my superior Club rating I would expect, if anything, to receive the Club's support over my opponent in this race," Quayle wrote.
Schweikert's office declined to elaborate on the issue.
"The letter speaks for itself," emailed a spokeswoman when asked for comment.