RNC: Hidden Debt Allegations “Misleading”

July 21st, 2010 at 5:23 pm | 7 Comments |

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The Washington Times broke a story this morning alleging that the Republican National Committee failed to report more than $7 million in debt:

The Republican National Committee failed to report more than $7 million in debt to the Federal Election Commission in recent months – a move that made its bottom line appear healthier than it is heading into the midterm elections and that also raises the prospect of a hefty fine.

In a memo to RNC budget committee members, RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen on Tuesday accused Chairman Michael S. Steele and his chief of staff, Michael Leavitt, of trying to conceal the information from him by ordering staff not to communicate with the treasurer – a charge RNC officials deny.

If it is true that the RNC has tried to hide their debts, they could face serious disciplinary action from the FEC. But having dealt with some financial issues before, the RNC has retained former FEC Chairman Michael E. Toner as outside counsel – a man whom the Washington Times‘ own piece calls ”one of the hottest campaign-finance legal talents the GOP has in town”.

Toner released a memo to the members of the Republican National Committee today, and FrumForum has obtained a copy:

As outside counsel to the Republican National Committee, we write this memorandum to address concerns raised by some RNC members based on media stories this morning claiming that the RNC has improperly failed to report $7 million of debt. These reports are extraordinarily misleading… Contrary to the hyperbolic claims in the media reports, the RNC has not at any time carried $7 million of debt, and all the debts at issue have been paid…

It is unfortunate that misinformation concerning internal RNC procedures has been somehow disseminated to the media, as the spreading of these inaccuracies operates to the grave detriment of the RNC. Contrary to today’s media accounts, the RNC has been and will remain committed to accurate FEC reporting, transparency, and fiscal discipline with its donors’ money.

If Toner is to be trusted – and the Times suggests he can be – then this brouhaha about the Republican National Committee’s debts are more political than financial. Having been hit by a slew of gaffes and missteps, Chairman Michael Steele looks vulnerable, and some RNC members may be looking to capitalize.

Most recent figures from the FEC show that the RNC had debts of around $750,000 at the end of May, and about $12.5 million cash on hand.


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7 Comments so far ↓

  • abrady

    The GOP, the Right, Fox News, and Tea Party organizers have always been very creative with numbers.

  • Oldskool

    What are the odds Pullen will be working for Karl Rove very soon, if he’s not already.

  • The RNC, Michael Steele and Cold Hard Cash Practical State | Practical State

    [...] of the GOP and, as I suspected, they were already in full throated defense of Chairman Steele.  Read it here. Here’s the Money Quote from the Fox News/AP article: “RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen [...]

  • busboy33

    The response is raising my eyebrow.

    They refer to the allegation as “misleading”, but then they say “the RNC has not at any time carried $7 million of debt, and all the debts at issue have been paid”.

    So they are basically saying that the allegation is absolutely, positively, 100% wrong . . . but they describe it as “misleading”. These folks certainly aren’t afraid of throwing verbal bombs, and if they’ve got the goods to call the charges BS then why are they fluffing about? “It’s a flat lie, and damn them for these blatant attempts to distract form the Librul Agenda’s failure.” That I would expect. This sounds . . . suspiciously muted.

  • msmilack

    A few questions:

    1. In the statement Toner put out, why is he blaming the media when it was members of the GOP who disseminated the story?

    2. Isn’t it clear that certain members of the GOP simply want Steele out and this is their latest evidence?

    3. Isn’t it also clear that many members are simply working around Steele, especially now that people like Rove can collect millions in contributions from 3 or 4 Texas billionaires to spend on elections as Rove sees fit?

    It seems to me that rather than fire Steele, they have worked very hard to make him irrelevant. The GOP has such a bad history with minorities and so few minority members that to fire Michael Steele would be too blatant an act though putting him in that position in the first place was an attempt to make the party look more inclusive which in fact it really is not. Look at their policies for proof.

  • msmilack

    Oldskool // Jul 21, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    You wrote: “What are the odds Pullen will be working for Karl Rove very soon, if he’s not already.”

    My thought exactly except that Rove is proceeding (thanks to the Supreme Court) as if Steele is completely irrelevant. I don’t know what the RNC has raised but Rove just raised millions from 4 billionaires to spend as he wishes on the candidates of his choice (not the RNC’s choice) and has the goal of raising 50 million for the same purpose.