Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 22, 2010

RNC HQ, STILL IN DISARRAY.... As if RNC Chairman Michael Steele's latest gaffes weren't enough to give his party heartburn, we're also learning this week that management of the Republican National Committee's finances is a complete mess.

Barely 6 1/2 months before the midterm elections, an internal investigation by the Republican National Committee has revealed that the organization is beset with questionable financial management and oversight and is spending more money courting top-dollar donors than it raises.

The investigation found that the Republican Party's national governing body is losing money on its major-donors' fundraising program -- spending $1.09 for each $1.00 raised, according to RNC members privy to the investigation's findings. It typically costs about 40 cents for every dollar raised from donors who give more than $1,000.

The investigation also found that the RNC has allowed employees to forge Finance Director Rob Bickhart's initials on expense-reimbursement request approvals, according to an RNC member who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation.... The report says several RNC Finance Department employees have been forging Mr. Bickhart's signature for reimbursement for the purchase of clothing, wine and entertainment expenses, including some that were labeled as office supplies.

Many RNC donors were severely annoyed to learn that party funds were used at that bondage-themed nightclub earlier this year, but that was about $2,000. Party officials could at least tell supporters that it was an isolated incident involving a fairly small amount of money, which the RNC reportedly got back.

But the message to RNC donors is far more difficult when the problems appear systemic.

It's quite an operation Michael Steele is running, isn't it?

Given what we've seen of late, I still find it hard to imagine the party would oust Steele. He's survived this long, despite extraordinary incompetence, and with the midterms less than seven months away, I doubt the RNC would move towards a major shake-up now.

But if the elections in November fall short of party expectations, don't be surprised if Steele and "questionable financial management and oversight" at the RNC gets much of the blame.

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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don't be surprised if Steele and "questionable financial management and oversight" at the RNC gets much of the blame.

I disagree; they'll find a way to blame Obama....

Posted by: S. Waybright on April 22, 2010 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

The assumptions about Republicans crushing the Democrats in the fall elections are looking more and more dubious. They have their structural advantage in the number of open seats and gerrymandered districts, and they still have their enormous advantage in media access, but they are coming across more and more like a combination of cranks, crooks and fools. With six months to go before the elections, there is plenty of room for them to fall further into disarray.

Posted by: Midland on April 22, 2010 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

God, how I love Michael Steele.

The most awesomeest thing is that they (so far) can't fire him, because he'd go straight into an on-air pundit job. If you think he can't keep his mouth shut now. . . .

Posted by: Glenn Beck's Chalkboard on April 22, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Midland, I agree. I give the GOP a pickup of 20-25 in the House, and 4 in the Senate -- a gain, to be sure, but hardly a blowout (though it will certainly be spun as one), and nothing like 1994.

Posted by: Glenn Beck's Chalkboard on April 22, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

if you saw Steele comin' -- knew of all his Maryland adventures, and gawd, if Steve Gilliard were alive today, what fun we'd have! -- you'd realize that he was just another rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem, just like Geo Bush, only even more cartoonish.

the Repugs have no doubt been warned that if they deep six Mikie, he'll disappear under a hail of invisible oreos...and they will be very sorry fer it.

but it's painted-into-the-corner time, and the Repugs may just hafta hitch up their britches, tighten up their suspenders, and go ahead and dump Mikie.

it would all be just mildly amusing, but mostly sad, like a sat morning cartoon show, if it weren't for the fact that these clowns are a big part of the DC puppet show, and likely will be even bigger come Nov.

Posted by: neill on April 22, 2010 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

Sounds Like RNC is run as well as The Bush/Cheney adminstrations finances. The apple soes not fall far from the tree.

Posted by: MLJohnston on April 22, 2010 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

the key for the Dem committees is to tie the management of RNC finances to how the R's would (and have) run the nation's finances.

"Concerned about the national debt and the federal budget? Then the last thing you should do is elect the people who lose money on fundraising, were cited in an audit for poor internal financial controls, and who spend $2,000 at a Hollywood bondage club. Is this how you want your government run in tough economic times? Does this reflect your values?"

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 22, 2010 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

Wasn't there a big story about a year ago about how the financial keys were being taken away from Steele? I wonder whatever happened with that, since it doesn't seem to have happened. The one thing Steele seems to be smart about is hanging on to power, so I wouldn't be surprised it was something the powers-that-be couldn't actually do without his cooperation, and when he refused to cooperate, they quietly backed down.

Posted by: Redshift on April 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

Steele's family should mark their calendar: in November, he's going to be spending more time with them.

Posted by: rm421 on April 22, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

How did we manage to plant this guy, anyhow? In the name of Dick Tuck and all that's holy, Michael Steele is a stroke of genius.

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on April 22, 2010 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

For those of you who don't remember Dick Tuck, read this and marvel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Tuck

Posted by: Cap'n Chucky on April 22, 2010 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

This would all be pretty funny, if it weren't so terrifying...a major political party which is not that far from re-taklng power is degenerating before our eyes into some weird sub-species of performance artists, and Jon Stewart is almost the only member of the national media who consistently calls attention to it.

How can Democrats NOT be motivated to vote this November?

Posted by: bluewave on April 22, 2010 at 9:49 AM | PERMALINK

Redshift asked:

Wasn't there a big story about a year ago about how the financial keys were being taken away from Steele? I wonder whatever happened with that, since it doesn't seem to have happened.

Yes, Steele was supposedly blocked from signing off on very large contracts without a counter-signature. This is actually indicative of something much more insidious and, if unchecked, fatal -- complete lack of control, oversight or even common sense on all spending, large and small, throughout the organization. Financially, it's the death of a thousand cuts.

Posted by: Glenn Beck's Chalkboard on April 22, 2010 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans can't handle their own money responsibly. You shouldn't trust them with your tax dollars.


There's the new slogan for this year.

You can't trust Republicans with your money.

Look what hey did to the budget when they had power last time. Heck, in my entire lifetime almost all the debt was accumulated under Republican presidents. With Republicans in congress voting for all of that debt.

They talk a good game, but then when you give them power it goes to their heads. They can't be trusted.

Posted by: atlliberal on April 22, 2010 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Speaking of Republican financial shenanigans, Steve, when can we read your piece on Florida?

Posted by: DAY on April 22, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

All this bugle oil about Steele don't amount to a hill of beans if the Dems don't capitlize on it. They should be screaming from the rooftops about all the rethug missteps, but they're too complacent and disorganized and too damn lazy to vote. Grrrrrrr!

Posted by: buddym on April 22, 2010 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Michael Steele, bless his heart. Best Democratic operative in history.

Posted by: MsJoanne on April 22, 2010 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

questionable financial management and oversight?

Isn't that the Republican style in every venue they play in, from the party offices to Bible Spice speaking fees, from the corporate world to government? Every situation is just an opportunity for personal exploitation, a chance to con the suckers out of a buck. That's just the way they roll.

Posted by: jrw on April 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Every situation is just an opportunity for personal exploitation, a chance to con the suckers out of a buck. That's just the way they roll."
Posted by: jrw on April 22, 2010 at 11:47 AM

The funny part of it, the bust-a-gut laughing part, is that they say so directly -- that's what all the whole Ayn Rand trip boils down to: "The Virtue of Selfishness." (And that was 30 years before Gordon Gekko.)
And yet the teabeggars think the Publicans are on their side.
Tell me again why we're not supposed to look down on them and call them stupid?

Posted by: smartalek on April 24, 2010 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

That's exactly what I was searching for! I have no idea how Google ranks your blog for The Washington Monthly. That's actually great.

Posted by: the big bang theory episodes on January 15, 2011 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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