The Party of Fiscal Responsibility? Seriously?: The Washington Times reports today, however, on a new matter that has nothing to do with Steele
July 21, 2010


The Party of Fiscal Responsibility? Seriously

The Washington Times reports today, however, on a new matter that has nothing to do with Steele's notorious gaffes, and more to do with his notorious mismanagement.

The Republican National Committee failed to report more than $7 million in debt to the Federal Election Commission in recent months -- a move that made its bottom line appear healthier than it is heading into the midterm elections and that also raises the prospect of a hefty fine.

In a memo to RNC budget committee members, RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen on Tuesday accused Chairman Michael S. Steele and his chief of staff, Michael Leavitt, of trying to conceal the information from him by ordering staff not to communicate with the treasurer -- a charge RNC officials deny.

Mr. Pullen told the members that he had discovered $3.3 million in debt from April and $3.8 million from May, which he said had led him to file erroneous reports with the FEC. He amended the FEC filings Tuesday.

When it comes to consequences, the financial problem could cause all kinds of trouble for Republicans. Deliberately filing deceptive FEC reports is criminal, and could lead to stiff penalties -- if not formal charges -- before the elections.

And while the Republican National Committee is already downplaying the significance of this, there's reason to believe the party is aware of the seriousness of the situation.

Actually, despite the fact that this is not strictly Michael Steele's fault, unnamed members of the RNC are quick to start pointing fingers his way:

Mr. Pullen said that Mr. Leavitt, acting on orders from Mr. Steele, tried to limit his access to the unreported past-due bills that the RNC owes for goods and services by barring staff members from providing him any information unless approved by the chairman. According to Mr. Pullen, he complained and Mr. Steele then allowed the information to flow.[..]

A faction of committee members has been critical of Mr. Steele's fundraising operation.

Before Mr. Steele took over as chairman in January 2009, RNC fundraising typically far exceeded donations to the Democratic National Committee.

Back on May 31, 2006, for example, the RNC had $43.1 million in cash on hand compared with the DNC's $10.3 million. Part of the RNC's edge over the DNC stemmed from Republicans holding the presidency, though they were about to lose control of Congress that year.

Wow. That's a whole lotta money they've lost. And they think we should trust them with the deficit?

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