Despite staff cuts, RNC remains mired in debt

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus boasted that his early staff cuts have saved thousands of dollars for the party but admitted its finances remain mired in red ink.

The RNC currently has $725,650 banked and just over $21 million in debt, according to its latest Federal Election Commission filing. But in a statement, Priebus said the committee's actual liabilities total $23 million -- $15 million in loans and $8 million owed to vendors. 

Some estimates suggest the committee will need to raise up to $400 million to help Republicans compete for congressional majorities and the White House in 2012.

"We have our work cut out for us, but I am confident we will succeed in turning around the RNC through hard work, transparency and honesty with our hardworking grassroots activists and donors," Priebus said Monday. "That is why in the first two weeks we have reduced staff from 124 positions to 82, frozen all major contracts until they can be evaluated and assembled an incredibly strong finance transition team."

The chairman estimated those moves have saved the RNC $500,000 a month. He also said there were steps being taken to lower the cost of processing small donations.

"The RNC did raise nearly $105 million in 2010, mainly through low-dollar solicitations online and in the mail, but the costs to raise it were simply too high, at approximately 64 cents for every dollar raised," he said. "Even more troubling, our major donor programs are at 10-year lows."

He pledged to continue taking the steps "necessary to defeat President Obama."

--Updated at 9:56 a.m. Feb. 1

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