The Corner

RNC Political Director Quits, Blasts Steele on Way Out

Republican National Committee political director Gentry Collins, a close aide and one-time defender of chairman Michael Steele, has resigned in a five-page letter blasting Steele’s stewardship of the party. The NYT reports:

“Sadly, if left on its current path, the R.N.C. will not be a productive force in the 2012 campaign to deny President Obama a second term, retain our House majority and elect a Senate majority,” Mr. Collins wrote on his Republican stationery, offering an unusually blunt assessment about internal workings of the party.

Mr. Collins’s resignation, which was first reported by Politico, added to the mounting criticism of Mr. Steele as he decides whether to seek re-election as party chairman. The letter, which was obtained by The New York Times, provides a detailed look at the committee’s troubled finances, including an assertion by Mr. Collins that as much as 70 percent of the donations were spent on administrative fund-raising costs, rather than being used to directly help candidates.

The letter, addressed to the chairman and the executive committee, swiftly circulated on Tuesday and became the latest indication that Mr. Steele’s inner circle was coming apart in an internal battle over the direction and control of the committee. Several party officials have quietly sought to pressure Mr. Steele not to seek re-election when his term ends in January.”

More on the RNC’s troubled finances:

The Republican National Committee raised more than $79 million this year and has spent all of it, along with most of a $15 million line of credit that was extended this fall. When Mr. Steele started the job, the committee had a surplus of $23 million.

In the last two nonpresidential cycles, the Republican committee began the year with $4.8 million and $3.1 million respectively, which was carried forward into helping build for a presidential election. This year, Mr. Collins wrote, “we enter the 2012 presidential cycle with 100 percent of the R.N.C.’s $15 million in lines of credit tapped out and unpaid bills likely to add millions to that debt.”

He added, “The R.N.C. allowed its major donor base to wither.”

More here.

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