RNC HQ, still in disarray

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.