RNC’s ‘fear-gate’ hits party’s pocketbook

RNC’S ‘FEAR-GATE’ HITS PARTY’S POCKETBOOK…. The release this week of a Republican National Committee fundraising presentation continues to be a real headache for the party. The RNC’s message — filled with donor insults, offensive caricatures, and an admission that the party relies on little more than “fear” — has already put many Republican officials on the defensive.

And now it’s also starting to hit the party where it hurts most.

A prominent Evangelical figure and Republican donor says he will end his contributions to the organized Republican Party in reaction to the leaked fundraising presentation that advised using “fear” to solicit contributions and displayed an image of President Obama as the Joker from Batman.

Mark DeMoss, who heads a major Christian public relations firm in Atlanta and served as a liaison to the Evangelical community for Mitt Romney in 2008, wrote Chairman Michael Steele yesterday that he was “ashamed” of the presentation, calling depictions of Obama, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Majority Leader Harry Reid “shameful, immature and uncivil, at best.”

“I’m afraid the presentation is representative of a culture and mindset within the Republican National Committee,” DeMoss, a past member of the RNC’s “Eagle” program for top donors who gave the party $15,000 in 2008, wrote in the letter to Steele, which he shared with POLITICO. “Consequently, I will no longer contribute to any fundraising entity of our Party — but will contribute only to individual candidates I choose to support.”

DeMoss may not be a household name, but in evangelical circles, he’s a real heavyweight, and his announcement about cutting off Republican campaign committees will be noticed.

What’s more, the timing isn’t helpful for the RNC, either. Just as the party hopes to stay on the offensive, and boost campaign coffers, the so-called “fear-gate” controversy has become an unfortunate distraction that’s annoying Republican contributors.

And perhaps most importantly for Democrats, the story is lingering — the initial report was published on Wednesday, and the controversy is still in the news.