New RNC Chief Of Staff Was Behind Ayers Attacks, Palin Shopping Spree

February 03, 2011 11:58 am ET — Meredith Kormes

Politico reported this morning that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus named Jeff Larson as the committee's new chief of staff. Larson, a Minnesota-based GOP strategist, founded the fundraising and consulting firm FLS Connect. While the Politico article noted Larson's "sterling reputation," back in 2009 Talking Points Memo highlighted the many controversies that Larson and FLS Connect have been involved in:

Minnesota-based FLS Connect uses low-wage workers to make fund-raising calls for a bevy of prominent GOP clients. And many of those workers -- including those responsible for processing credit-card transactions -- have felony convictions, the former employees said. [...]

The company, founded by Larson and two fellow GOP consultants, Tony Feather and Thomas Synhorst, is also no stranger to controversy (Synhorst is said no longer to be actively involved). Working on behalf of the McCain campaign, FLS was behind an onslaught of negative robo-calls last fall tying Barack Obama to Bill Ayers. The calls were so vicious and misleading that they were denounced even by some Republicans. In addition, former Minnesota senator Norm Coleman took heat last year for renting a room in Larson's Washington D.C. apartment at well below market value. And it was Larson who picked up the $130,000 tab for Sarah and Todd Palin's now-famous shopping spree to Neiman Marcus, Saks 5th Avenue, and other high-end stores. (Larson was later reimbursed by the RNC.)