In an effort to get in front of bad news, the new Republican National Committee chairman issued a news release Monday afternoon saying the committee’s financial situation is actually a bit worse than the campaign finance report to be filed later tonight.
In the release, Reince Priebus said the financial report will show the committee ended 2010 with $21 million in debt and $725,000 in cash. But he added that the report understates the committee’s true debt, which he said tops $23 million, comprising $15 million in loans and $8 million owed to vendors.
“We have our work cut out for us, but I am confident we will succeed in turning around the RNC through hard work, transparency and honesty with our hardworking grassroots activists and donors,” he said. “That is why in the first two weeks we have reduced staff from 124 positions to 82, frozen all major contracts until they can be evaluated, and assembled an incredibly strong finance transition team.”
These moves achieved payroll and operational savings of $500,000 a month, according to Priebus, who added that the committee “exceeded the RNC’s major donor goals by over 30 percent in January with only half the execution time.”
Priebus said the committee did well raising money in 2010 among small donors but suffered because the costs of those fundraising efforts “were simply too high at approximately 64 cents for every dollar raised. Even more troubling, our major donor programs are at 10-year lows.”
The fiscal management of the RNC was a major issue during the recently concluded race for chairman. Former Chairman Michael Steele took a lot of criticism for his management of the committee, because of both poor fundraising and debatable spending strategies.
Other candidates and campaign committees, including the Democratic National Committee, are also required to file their year-end fundraising reports by the end of the day Monday.