Top of the ballot: RNC fires staffer, tries to put incident behind it

RNC fires staffer over Voyeur visit; Cornyn says healthcare is still the GOP's issue; Palin and Romney roll out more endorsements.

Case closed, sort of, for RNC

The Republican National Committee’s (RNC) sex club mystery has been solved, but the case is hardly closed for the committee.
 
Members of the committee will continue to ask how it happened that a $2,000 meal at a risqué Los Angeles club featuring nudity and simulated sex scenes was charged to their account.
 
Late Monday, the RNC announced that a staffer who approved the expense has been fired. The money is also being returned by a non-committee staffer who was reimbursed for the expense. RNC spokesman Doug Heye said the committee is taking steps to ensure that nothing similar ever happens again.
 
But for the committee, what happened Monday fits into an easy narrative of over-spending that has long dogged Chairman Michael Steele's tenure. Until the committee convinces supporters and members that it is being a better steward of their cash, this one is going to haunt them.
 
Cornyn assures members on healthcare
 
In a memo to fellow GOP senators Tuesday, National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) sought to assure them that healthcare would indeed be an albatross for Democrats in November.
 
That narrative has gotten away from Republicans in recent days.
 
“As Members of Congress travel around their home states for recess this week, congressional Democrats may consider this a victory for their personal agendas, however, the majority of Americans clearly disagree,” Cornyn writes.
 
Cornyn also points to unemployment figures (though generally considered a lagging indicator) and bleak economic headlines that he attributes to the healthcare bill.
 
A Democratic source points out that the release only peripherally mentions repeal and, while instructing members in other ways about how to approach the issue going forward, provides no instructions on repeal.
 
Romney, Palin endorse more
 
The endorsement war between Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin continues.
 
The former Alaska governor is now backing a trio of Iraq veterans: Vaughn Ward, who is challenging Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho); Adam Kinzinger, who is challenging Rep. Debbie Halvorson (D-Ill.); and Allen West, who is challenging Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.). All three are top GOP hopes.
 
Romney, meanwhile, threw his support behind former Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley in the Connecticut GOP governor’s primary. Foley faces a primary with Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele.
 
Other updates:
 
-A new SurveyUSA poll shows Rep. Jerry Moran leading Rep. Todd Tiahrt in the Kansas GOP Senate primary, 42-32. The Aug. 3 race between the two is seen as the de facto general election.
 
-Former Rep. Nathan Deal (R-Ga.), who recently resigned to run for governor, is under an ethics cloud. The Office of Congressional Ethics released a report Monday saying Deal may have used his official staff to affect legislation that benefitted his auto salvage company. Read The Hill's report on Deal here.
 
-Democrats caught a big break Monday when Rep. John Spratt (D-S.C.) filed for reelection. There had been plenty of concern that the Budget Committee chairman might retire, thereby opening up a tough open seat for Democrats to hold.