RNC falls short of fundraising target with $9.7 million brought in for September

The Republican National Committee (RNC) pulled in $9.7 million in donations in September, about $4 million short of its goal.

The RNC had hoped to haul in $13.5 million for the second-to-last full month of the 2010 election cycle. 

This is the second month in a row the RNC came up short of its goal. In August, the RNC raised $7.7 million for the month -- $1.7 million short of the $9.4 million that had been projected. 

RNC Treasurer Randy Pullen let top party officials know of the fundraising total in an email on Thursday obtained by The Hill.

The $5.5 million cumulative shortfall over the two months led Pullen to welcome the additional $5 million line of credit the RNC's executive committee voted to extend during a conference call this week. 

"As Treasurer, I greatly appreciate the authorization to add $5 million.  We will need it," he wrote in the private email. "I say this because fundraising in August and September was less than planned in the revised budget you approved in August."

The September numbers compare to the record $16 million that the RNC's counterpart, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), had raised over the same period. The DNC did have the advantage of a slew of top-dollar fundraisers featuring President Obama.

RNC Communications Director Doug Heye said that the RNC has taken every step possible to maximize its financial impact in congressional races.

"Our Treasurer’s leaked e-mail does not take into account the actions the committee has undertaken to ensure that we have every available resource on the ground and thus mischaracterizes our financial standing," Heye said. "We’ve authorized an additional $5 million because the electoral map continues to grow and has created additional opportunities to seize."

The shortfall comes at a critical point in the election cycle, when party committees typically invest heavily in the waning days of congressional races. The money is especially pivotal for Republicans, who believe they are on the verge of winning enough seats in the election to reclaim the House, and, possibly, the Senate.

The lackluster report also comes during Michael Steele's RNC chairmanship, which has at times prompted fellow Republicans to call into question his financial stewardship of the party.

Still, Republican fundraising has been stronger through its House and Senate committees, and outside groups, such Karl Rove's American Crossroads, have been able to pour millions more into key congressional races to aid GOP candidates.