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The RNC is Steele-ing the Election — Update: RNC Denies Hiding Debt, Says Debt Paid

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By Doug Powers  •  July 21, 2010 11:27 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

The Republican National Committee is Steele-ing the election, and in the process they’re stealing it from Republicans.

The RNC bumbling continues as the November election draws nearer. The RNC supported Dede Scozzafava (who returned the favor by supporting a Democrat), which cost them who knows how much by angering plenty of would-be donors. Then there was the bondage club thing, word of private jets, and other spendthrift behavior.

Every time I start to become at least a little inclined to believe there’s a big difference between Republicans and Democrats in the area of fiscal reponsibility, something like this comes along:

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.

Campaign-finance analysts said that simply misreporting fundraising numbers to the FEC can lead to millions of dollars in fines and that criminal charges can be levied if the actions are suspected to be intentional.

Seven million dollars? Sounds like somebody made over 3,500 more trips to Voyeur West Hollywood.

My relationship with the RNC is a little like Al Pacino’s famous line in Godfather III, except in reverse: Just when I thought I was in, they push me back out.

There need to be changes at the top of the RNC chain, and fast. Hand out leather hoods, ball gags and whips as severence pay if need be, but clean house at the top and find somebody able to lead the RNC so the Republicans it supports don’t look stupid and hypocritical when they speak of “fiscal responsibility.”

In a year where the base is motivated and the RNC should be cash heavy heading into an election that will determine the future of the country, they’ve run up a debt and may have tried some bookkeeping sleight of hand to make things look not as bad as they are. Sounds like the kind of thing that has gotten America in deep trouble already, doesn’t it?

The RNC coffers should be overflowing more than the coin tray in the White House’s ice cream cone/cigarette/arugula vending machine, but they’re not. Explanations are in order.

A recent RNC internal report showed that the party’s major donors program was spending $1.09 for every $1 raised. What a great way to convince voters (and major donors for that matter) to give them the keys to DC so they can lead America out of its fiscal hole.

You know it’s bad for the RNC when even Robert Gibbs gets it right:

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs had some choice words today for Michael Steele after the RNC chairman said that being black gives him and President Obama less margin for error as public figures.

“That’s a fairly silly comment to make,” Gibbs told reporters. “I think Michael Steele’s problem isn’t the race card, it’s the credit card.”

Update: Equal time: I just an email from someone high-up in the RNC organization — here’s the crux of the letter:

We’ve got a reporter who does nothing but take shots at Steele in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t way.

We’re not hiding any debt. Anything reported as debt has been paid.

If I’m able to get more details of the RNC’s rebuttal I’ll be happy to pass them along.

(h/t Jammie Wearing Fool)

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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