Top Republican money flees Steele’s RNC

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As Michael Steele’s Republican National Committee (RNC) has seen its haul from large donors decline by half, Steele has doubled RNC spending on luxuries such as private planes and meal expenses, according to Politico.

A first hand account of Steele’s excesses:

“Michael Steele is an imperial chairman,” said one longtime Republican fundraiser. “He flies in private aircraft. He drives in private cars. He has private consultants that are paid ridiculous retainers. He fancies himself a presidential candidate and wants all of the trappings and gets them by using other people’s money.”

Steele, of course, has his defenders who claim that the increases in expenses are related to the increase in demand for the chairman.  In 2005-2006, the last midterm season, Ken Mehlman had a comparably much lower demand and need for travel.

Unfortunately for Steele, many donors don’t seem to be sympathetic:

But disclosure reports document the exodus of prominent donors who have decided to shift their giving to other party committees. In 2005, the RNC raised $46 million from donors who gave more than $250 and $55 million from small donors. In 2009, Steele’s RNC brought in just $24 million — nearly half as much — from big donors and $58 million from small donors.

When Steele took over the chairmanship last winter, he inherited a $23 million surplus. Since then, the former Maryland lieutenant governor has raised $10 million less than the party collected in 2005 and has spent $10 million more. By the end of 2009, the committee’s surplus had shrunk to $8.4 million, according to campaign finance reports.

Full story: Michael Steele’s spending spree angers donors – Politico – Jeanne Cummings