YOUNG EAGLES SPREAD THEIR WINGS…. That unfortunate Republican National Committee event at Voyeur West Hollywood has become a humiliating headache for the party, but it’s also bringing some attention to the RNC’s “Young Eagles” fundraising program, which was responsible for the event at the bondage-themed nightclub in the first place.
The point of the program is to cultivate relationships with younger GOP donors, with the hopes of establishing a long-term — and lucrative — connection.
“We do events that a specific demographic will like, so it will love us and give us money and vote for us,” said David Norcross, a former RNC general counsel and current committeeman who was briefed by Steele on the RNC’s plan to revamp its reimbursement and expense-approval process for all programs in the wake of the controversy.
“And, when you’re dealing with young people, it’s probably a good idea to go off the beaten track a little bit and do things you think they might like.” Norcross said.
A former Young Eagle told Politico that “everything that’s cool from a pop culture perspective is Democratic,” forcing the RNC to look beyond traditional fundraising events. The result, he said is “a fun group” for young party donors. “If you’ve got a little insecurity complex, but you’ve got money — what a cool group to hang out with.”
If this strikes you as rather sad, we’re thinking along the same lines.
As it turns out, though, perhaps the most embarrassing part of the Young Eagles fundraising program is that it wasn’t much of a fundraising program. Half of the group’s own co-chairmen hadn’t contributed to the party, and last year, only four young (under 46) donors had donated the required $7,500 for the highest level of membership. As a result, it appears Young Eagle events were held, at great expense, for Republicans who weren’t contributing much, if anything, to the party trying to impress them.
As Josh Marshall explained, “Obviously the way this is supposed to work is that you give these richies a lot of free stuff and they end up giving you back a whole lot more in political contributions. But apparently no one was watching the inflows and outflows very closely…. Reading this piece I found it hard to tell whether this was just a good way to blow a lot of money on events for rich kids who didn’t actually give much money or some sort of nerd empowerment program gone terribly wrong.”
As for whether the costs of the Young Eagles program outweighed the benefits, the turmoil at RNC headquarters should make the answer clear.