RNC disarray gets a little worse

RNC DISARRAY GETS A LITTLE WORSE…. It’s been about five weeks since we first learned about the Republican National Committee spending nearly $2,000 in donor money at a nightclub called Voyeur West Hollywood, an establishment where “impromptu bondage and S&M ‘scenes'” are “played out on an elevated platform by scantily clad performers throughout the night.”

The controversy quickly became something of a nightmare for the already-beleaguered RNC, but the story faded from public view with time. Behind the scenes, however, questions about RNC finances continue to dog the party committee, and as we learned late yesterday afternoon, the fallout continues.

The heads are still rolling at the Republican National Committee.

On Friday Michael Steele, the Republican Party chair, ousted Rob Bickhart as the organization’s finance chief after months of sluggish fundraising punctuated by questionable expenses. Mr. Bickhart’s deputy was also dismissed.

It’s been difficult to keep up with the staff shake-ups at the RNC lately. In late March, one staffer was fired over the Voyeur scandal. About a week later, the party’s chief of staff resigned under pressure, and Curt Anderson, a top RNC strategist, resigned at nearly the same time. Hot on their heels, Alex Castellanos, brought on to help shape the party’s message, also quit. Earlier this week, three members of the RNC’s communications team also decided to seek employment elsewhere.

The party may want to consider revolving doors at RNC headquarters.

As for the latest departures — announced at a time intended to minimize public attention — both of the names involved may seem familiar to political observers. Bickart, for example was responsible for a February fundraising presentation filled with donor insults, offensive caricatures, and an admission that the party relies on little more than “fear” to win elections.

Bickhart’s deputy, Debbie LeHardy, was also fired yesterday, after some controversial RNC reimbursements billed as “office supplies.” In one infamous instance, “LeHardy received a $450 reimbursement for a ‘meal’ at a Manhattan boutique that doesn’t have a restaurant.”

It’s quite a professional operation RNC Chairman Michael Steele is running. I can’t imagine why the party is having fundraising trouble.

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.