RNC Sex-Club Flap Only Tip Of Fundraising Iceberg
by PETER OVERBY
The Republican National Committee is busy this week doing damage control after its monthly financial report was filed with a nugget about a $1,900 tab run up by some donors at a topless nightclub. But beneath that furor lies another question: If the RNC is raising record amounts of money, why does it have so little of it left in the bank?
The RNC says one staffer went on the nightclub jaunt, submitted the bill as a committee expense, and has now been fired. But that was only the raciest bit of a West Coast trip by RNC Chairman Michael Steele and other party officials. Some other items cost considerably more than an evening watching simulated sex.
"You had more than $9,000 that was spent at a Beverly Hills hotel," said David Levinthal, communications director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. "There was more than $6,500 that was spent at a Four Seasons hotel."
'A Risky Proposition'
These might seem like garden-variety gotchas on the expense account — except for this: The RNC is spending more money than it's raising. Since January 2009, the RNC has raised $109 million, but spent $115 million.
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I truly appreciate good irony, particularly the sort that swarms through the ranks of everyday life prodding absurd social reflection. However, some thematic repetitions simply become cliche (to the point of becoming sad truths), and, as James Cameron has taught us - Sometimes a good spectacle just isn't enough to save a bad cliche.