The conservative group Tea Party Patriots has apologized to GOP strategist Karl Rove after an "outside vendor" sent an email with a photoshopped image of Rove wearing a Nazi uniform.
"Wipe that smirk off Rove's face," the subject of the email read.
In a statement, the group said the image was "inappropriate."
"We apologize to Mr. Rove. While we may have strong disagreements with Mr. Rove on the future of conservatism, we want to be clear this imagery is absolutely unacceptable and are working to ensure this type of mistake doesn't happen again," Tea Party Patriots said.
The incident comes just after Rove announced a new initiative that seeks to knock out Republican candidates he thinks are vulnerable in a general election.
"Rove recently vowed to spend money in GOP congressional primaries after the party lost high-profile Senate races in Missouri and Indiana because of comments made by those Republican candidates about rape and abortion. Rove's new group, the Conservative Victory Project, has drawn the ire of those on the political right, who say the GOP strategist is trying to usurp the will of voters."
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich came out swinging, too. He penned a scathing editorial in Human Events magazine.
"It is appalling how little some Republican consultants have learned from the 2012 defeat," he writes. "It is even more disturbing how arrogant their plans for the future are."
The Tea Party Patriots said Active Engagement, the company that sent the email, added the image in error.
The company explained:
"The image was obviously a photo shopped image of Mr. Rove, a well-known political figure. The image was selected in error from an extensive group of images available publicly online and was adjacent to the image that Tea Party Patriots approved for use."