Campaign committees

Campaign committees

RNC Chairman Michael Steele: 'I've made mistakes'

Michael Steele said Friday that he has made mistakes as chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC).

During an appearance on Sean Hannity's show on the Fox News Channel, Steele said, "I'm trying to do the best I can as national chairman. I've made mistakes..."

{mosads}Steele also defended himself, saying, "I've got three victories under my belt: New Jersey, Massachusetts and Virginia," referencing the two 2009 governor races and Sen. Scott Brown's (R-Mass.) win in January.

He added, "Look, this is the bottom line: I stay focused very much on winning in November. I'm going to work very hard to make sure more Republicans, more good, fiscal conservatives get into the Senate, into Congress, into the governorships, into the state legislatures this November."

Steele has been made a series of gaffes since taking over at the RNC. He has also attracted criticism from GOP officials on how the RNC has spent some of its money in the 2010 cycle.

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Jindal makes light of RNC scandal

NEW ORLEANS -- Apparently it’s now OK for Republicans to joke about the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) recent scandal.
 
Speaking to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference on Friday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal became the first speaker to mention the RNC’s $2,000 expenditure at a risqué nightclub.
 
"A word of warning to RNC staffers: You may want to avoid Bourbon Street,” Jindal said. “Just some advice.”

Jindal, making one of his first big national appearances since a widely panned response to President Obama in February 2009, also said he has no presidential aspirations.

He began the speech by answering the question he knew he would get asked.

"I am not running for President of the United States of America," he said. "I've got the job I want."

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N.C. GOP chairman first to call for Steele's resignation

North Carolina GOP Chairman Tom Fetzer on Thursday became the first Republican National Committee (RNC) member to call for Chairman Michael Steele's resignation since the commitee was revelead to have spent $2,000 at a risque nightclub.

In a letter to Steele obtained by the Raleigh News and Observer, Fetzer said Steele needs to stop being a distraction.

"More than ever, America needs the Republican Party to be a force for reform, transparency, and ethics in government," Fetzer wrote. "If we are going to be an effective agent for reform in America, we must first reform our party."

Fetzer also said some of the criticism Steel has received was not earned. But he said it was a matter of doing what's best for the party.

The two men appeared at a rally together last month.

"I believe that the best service you can render to your party at this critical juncture is to graciously step aside and allow the party to move on from this current quagmire," Fetzer wrote.

North Carolina Republican National Committeewoman Ada Fisher previously called for Steele's resignation, before the recent controversy.

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DNC tops RNC in fundraising as healthcare debate reaps dollars for both sides

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) outraised the Republican National Committee (RNC) $13 million to $11.4 million in March.

The RNC noted that its total was a midterm-year record for March. The committee, which has been plagued by a high burn rate, banked less than $2 million of what it raised and upped its cash on hand to $11.3 million.

A cash-on-hand number from the DNC wasn't immediately available, but it had $10.7 million on hand at the end of February.

It appears both parties got a significant boost from the health care debate.

"Since the last days of fund raising were done around passage of healthcare reform, it's clear supporters of reform were more generous than opponents,' DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse said.

The DNC's total is especially encouraging for its supporters; the RNC's numbers came largely before the recent scandal over a reimbursed expense at a bondage-themed nightclub in Los Angeles.

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Top Republicans pressure RNC to get house in order

Two top Republicans in Congress on Sunday said that the Republican National Committee (RNC) needs to get its fiscal house in order lest they lose the support of loyal donors.

The RNC has come under fire from some members of the GOP and conservatives since it was reported that the committee reimbursed several young donors for a party at a Los Angeles bondage-themed nightclub. The incident shined light on other examples of high-spending at the party. 

{mosads}But Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and House Minority Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) both stopped short of calling for chairman Michael Steele's resignation, as most Republican leaders have.

"Well, I'm not in the position of the people who elect Michael Steele to either say he should step down or not. But this kind of thing has got to stop or they won't get any contributions," Kyl said on Fox News Sunday. "The people that contribute to the committees, both Democrat and Republican, want to know that their money is well spent for the cause, and it needs to be that way."

The Republicans' comments show that, as primary contests loom, pressure on the RNC is continuing to build after a week in which the committee faced harsh criticism.

Several high-profile donors, especially those from socially conservative groups, have called on their supporters to stop giving to the RNC. Alternative Republican groups have begun to spring up that appear to have similar missions to the RNC, which are to fundraise and help elect Republican candidates.

The RNC has said that Steele did not personally know of the reimbursements and fired the official who authorized them. The committee also shined light on examples of spending at the Democratic National Committee, but critics have said they are not as risque as the RNC expenditures.

"Look, I'm very focused on House races, but the RNC does have some challenges that they need to correct. Not only does the American people request it but the Republicans requested it as well," McCarthy, who is recruitment chairman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said on Fox.

McCarthy credited Steele for raising solid amount of donations and helping elect Republicans in gubernatorial races and the Massachusetts special Senate election, but said that the RNC needs to pull itself together, perhaps with more staff shakeups, in order to have robust success in the fall.

"If we are going to show that -- the American public that we believe in accountability and bringing it back to Washington, we have to make sure that the RNC has the accountability just the same," he said. "You've got to bring the trust back, and that may mean shaking some other roles inside the RNC as well. 

Cross-posted to the Briefing Room

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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.

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