The vendor the Tea Party Patriots says used an unauthorized picture of Karl Rove in a Nazi uniform in an email pitch issued a mea culpa as the conservative group issued an apology for the solicitation Tuesday.

In a bid to raise $1 million by Feb. 27 as part of its four-year anniversary campaign, the non-profit Tea Party Patriots said it had Active Engagement, a Virginia based online fundraising firm, send a solicitation.

The solicitation that went out under the subject line "Wipe the Smirk Off Karl Rove's Face," featured Rove's mug photoshopped onto a Nazi officer in a full SS uniform. It asked for contributions to push back against the GOP strategist's attempts to "crush the Tea Party movement."

The group said it "did not know about or approve" the image and that it "was added by an outside vendor, Active Engagement."

"We have ordered them to immediately cease further use of the image," said Jenny Beth Martin, the group's national coordinator, calling the image "inappropriate" and "wrong."

 She also apologized to Rove.

"While we may have strong disagreements with him 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," she stated.

Conservative media outlets such as Human Events have taken note of the email and mocked the firm with its own words. "Nothing is more important to these guys than 'clearly communicating your compelling message to your supporters,'" David Harsanyi wrote in a blog post.

JD Norman, a vice president at Active Engagement, said the offensive image was chosen "in error from an extensive group of images available publicly online and was adjacent to the image that Tea Party Patriots approved for use."

"Active Engagement, L.L.C. takes full responsibility for this error and is attempting to contact everyone who received the image to explain the error," Norman said in a statement. "More importantly, Active Engagement, L.L.C. apologizes to Mr. Rove for this mistake. Active Engagement, L.L.C. does not believe there is any place in political discourse for images such as these."

This post has been updated.