Paul Teller was probably the last person Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) thought he'd have to slap around during the debate over the debt ceiling.
Since 2004, Teller — executive director of the Republican Study Committee — has served as liaison between conservatives on Capitol Hill and outside groups such as FreedomWorks and Americans for Tax Reform, as well as tea party activists and Reagan-era operatives. He was a crucial player in the creation and promotion of the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation that the House passed last week, and he has been seen for years as a rising star in the Republican Party — a likable guy but a serious threat to his political adversaries.
But Wednesday morning, Republican Members were calling for his resignation when they discovered he was orchestrating a lobbying campaign against Boehner's debt plan from within the halls of Congress.
"He is generally quite careful and not the least bit cavalier," said Colin Hanna, a longtime conservative activist who now runs the advocacy group Let Freedom Ring. "He's perpetually up, perpetually on and perpetually competent."
Reporters and colleagues often receive emails from Teller at midnight and then again at sunrise. His energy is boundless — one reason he never suggests meetings over coffee. Instead, he prefers to chat in the hallway outside his office, which is a closet-sized space he shares with several other RSC staffers on the ground floor of the Cannon House Office Building.
Teller, 40, graduated from Duke University in 1993 and earned a Ph.D. in political science at American University in 1999. Since then, he's seen the legislative process from all angles: as a researcher for the American Enterprise Institute, a staffer at the College Republican National Committee, an account executive at the Washington Times and an aide with the House Administration Committee before joining the RSC staff in 2001.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.