Reid Wilson at the Hotline says today’s headlines should be traced to the RNC’s finance department, not chairman Michael Steele:
But this time, the problems are not with chair Michael Steele. Instead, it has become clear to RNC members and political professionals in DC that the problem is with the RNC’s finance department — both thanks to sloppy book-keeping and to unprofessional behavior.
The latest revelations, published this morning by The Daily Caller, show an RNC consultant spent $1,946 at a bondage-themed night club in L.A. That comes about 4 weeks after a party PowerPoint presentation, in which the RNC mocks their own donors, was discovered at a posh FL hotel.
In both cases, insiders blamed the finance department. In the latest incident, it is likely a low-level staffer approved an expense report that should never have been submitted. In the earlier incident, RNC insiders blamed a more senior finance official for producing an unprofessional document in the first place, under the quickly disproven theory it would never become public.
Wilson argues that Steele has actually proven to be an effective communicator but his weakness at the financial portion of his job has hamstrung the RNC and has the GOP running well behind the Democrats on the fundraising trail headed into this fall.
He’s probably right that the criticisms of Steele would be a lot softer if the RNC’s bottom line was stronger, but I’m not sure Steele’s penchant for negative headlines would escape the donors’ wrath even if the committee was in the black. The sheer audacity of charging a trip to a topless club to party’s expense account is probably enough to turn off even the most committed party booster.
And didn’t they used to use petty cash for this sort of thing?