Campaign committees

RNC fires top finance officials as scandal fallout continues

Chairman Michael Steele on Friday fired the Republican National Committee’s two top finance officials, the Ballot Box confirmed.

Steele asked for the resignations of finance director Rob Bickhart and his deputy, Debbie LeHardy. In a memo sent to committee members, Steele said the move came as part of an effort to “restructure the department.”

The RNC has been reeling from poor fundraising numbers and reports that it spent donors’ money at questionable locales, including at Voyeur, a “bondage-themed” nightclub in Los Angeles.

Steele announced that Mary Heitman would take over as finance director.

Heitman served in a similar positon with the Republican Governors Association from 1998-2001, according to a bio distributed by the committee. She was also the deputy finance director for the RNC for a period in the mid-1990s.

Earlier on Friday Steele again faced questions about the committee’s expenses at Voyeur.

During an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Steele emphasized he did not approve of those expenses, and that the RNC employees culpable were held responsible.

”You mean to tell me that one employee of your organization has done something they’re not proud of?” Steele responded to Mitchell’s questioning. “I was not there. The individuals there were severely disciplined — they were fired.”

–Michael O’Brien contributed to this report.


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