(CNN) – Several Republican senators said Wednesday they were surprised and angered after a news report revealed that their GOP colleague, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, made a recent fundraising appeal for a tea party group that is trying to defeat GOP incumbents it doesn't believe are conservative enough.
The senators said Cruz's efforts appeared to violate his own pledge to no longer target sitting Republican senators in favor of tea party-backed candidates in the hard-fought 2014 campaign in which Republicans believe they have a chance to win back control of the Senate.
In addition, the fundraising appears at odds with Cruz's position as vice chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the organization that works to elect and re-elect Republicans to the Senate.
"I am stunned that Senator Cruz is involved in this fundraising effort for a group that has targeted his colleagues in the Republican caucus," Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, told CNN.
"I'm particularly surprised because I thought he had agreed to no longer engage in that kind of activity of supporting groups that were targeting people he serves with every day in the Republican caucus," she said.
Collins is running for re-election but doesn't appear to be a target of the group for whom Cruz did the appeal.
Politico reported Wednesday that Cruz sent a fundraising letter on behalf of the Madison Project, a tea party organization that is working to help several candidates defeat veteran lawmakers in upcoming Republican primaries.
Those incumbents include Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, and Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi.
"I just would rather see us focus on Democrats," said another frustrated Republican senator who asked not to be identified. "I think when Republicans spend a lot of time and resources and effort defeating other Republicans it makes it that much harder to get to 51 in the Senate and that ought to be our goal."
Late last year, during another private GOP lunch following the government shutdown, the Texas Republican got an earful from several colleagues about whether he was involved with efforts by outside conservative groups, especially the Senate Conservatives Fund, to defeat incumbent Republicans.
Cruz promised his GOP colleagues he would not actively work to defeat them.
CNN asked Cruz about his decision to work on behalf of the Madison Project but he declined to comment and directed a reporter to his press staff for a response.
"The senator made an agreement last spring to sign the letter that the Madison Project put out. He remains supportive of their efforts for the conservative cause, and he stands by what he said about likely not getting involved in specific congressional incumbent races," said Catherine Fraiser, a spokeswoman for Cruz said in an email.
Cruz's fundraising was on the minds of several GOP senators as they left a private luncheon in the Capitol that Cruz attended Wednesday. But no one brought up the perceived infraction during the lunch and Cruz never spoke, according to several senators who attended the meeting.
Keep up the good work Ted! The Democratic party salutes you!!
"Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, made a recent fundraising appeal for a tea party group that is trying to defeat GOP incumbents it doesn't believe are conservative enough."
At this stage, I'm beginning to question whether this man is not only anti-Republican, but anti-American as well.
Conservatives are needed..........and that means replacements are needed.
Why doesn't the "Tea Party" aka the KOCH brothers party, strike out on their own? Because they would LOSE. That's why.
I can not wait to see Ted Cruz LOSE!
@ Wake up People: Yes, we are grateful to Ted!
I love people as blissfully ignorant as Ted Cruz. They actually think the American voters are yearning for candidates that are even more to the right of your average conservative Republican... Newsflash Rafael! What flies down in Texas, does not go far anywhere else. You'll never win another national election if you keep spouting the same extremist rhetoric that has alienated your party from the rest of this country.
FINALLY! A Republican who puts his personal goals above his party. Atta Boy Ted!
It really is time for the republican party to shed these Tea Party obstructionists. If they want to field their own party, then let them do it under their own party banner. Ted Cruz can be the leader of the Tea Party.
Keep creating that chaos, Ted. Shut down government, go after those republicans who don't want government destroyed. The Kochs will reward you for doing what they and Al Qaeda could never do.
This jerk is par for the course for Republicans. He's a liar and a backstabber with no integrity!
Is there anything else rafaelito can do or say to make him more of a terrorist and anti US everything?
Just think back to 2008 then 2010 when he was running for supreme messiah who helped him. Once again we need to thank McCain for his unleashed she devil.
The HUGE problem is trying to defeat this Canadian. His district was gerrymandered to make him king of his own little world for life.
This guy is more scary than bin laden because he is part of our government!
From the first time Cruz opened his mouth I thought there was something really slimy about him. He will never get the GOP nomination for president that he seems to be working so hard for. His fellow GOP members in the Senate should be working to defeat him.
He is a shyster and a snake oil salesman. Usually well thought of traits on the right. The republicants aren't mad at him for using underhanded tactics, they are mad at him for using underhanded tactics against them.
Chris Matthews swears he is a Joe McCarthy incarnate and I don't disagree. He would sell his grandmother's soul to the Devil for a nickel, though he 'd rather sell your grandmother's soul first.... but as long as he gets his nickel, he's happy.
Lynda I think you got it backwards babe.
I thought we already knew that Turd Cruz was anti-American?
The question is whether he is also anti-Republican, and if he is then he would be joining the rest of us.
This idiot is so VICIOUS, USA is better off if it deports this nasty animal back to CANADA.
Don Quixote Cruz is busy charging the windmills in the sky rather than accomplish anything meaningful.
He needs to go back to canada!
Establishment gop speaks against cruz all the time. Why should cruz stand back?
So really what your saying is Cruz is to the repubs ? To what 0bama is to the dims Ummm . I buy that . shocker !
Cruz wood be a better prez than 0bama hands down oh ! Cruz means well i get it ! Its not time 4 cruz yet that could change ?
Hard to imagine a person dumb enough to vote for this idiot, but apparently they are out there.
The Repubs can always refuse to caucus with Cruz and other Tea Party types, but they're to spineless to do so.
Maybe we should applaud Cruz he might be working for the democrats. Keep going Ted.
The above image of Ted Cruz brings to mind 1939 Germany .
Then again "Joe" McCarthy comes to mind.
I love Ted Cruz. He just makes the nutjobs conservatives look that much nuttier.