The Republican National Committee remains mired in the fallout from last week's revelations about its spending priorities including the now infamous bankrolling of a $2000 visit to a sexually themed nightclub in West Hollywood. The committee's chief of staff Ken McKay resigned on Monday, as part of RNC Chairman Michael Steel's bid to put the scandal behind him.
But that strategy does not appear to be panning out. Today Sean Mahoney, a New Hampshire RNC committeeman, tendered his resignation, and issued a blistering statement about the committee's lavish recent spending. "Not only has the out of touch free spending culture of Washington come to dominate the US Congress, but I have watched with unease as the same mentality has seeped intoour national party", Mahoney announced. And Alex Castellanos, a longtime Steele ally who had been adivising the RNC in an unpaid capacity, also bowed out of his RNC duties, calling for Steele to resign.
Castellanos stressed that he regards Steele as "a very decent man and a tremedously talented man", but added that "I think a change of direction now, at this point, would do the party good." For his part, Castellenos who had worked previously on the presidential campaigns of MItt Romney and John McCain said he was stepping aside because he had lost the "ability to be of service to the RNC."
Steele has remained defiant in the face of growing criticism, saying earlier in the week that his detractors have been out to get him from day one and that he and President Obama are not afforded the same opportunities for missteps as whites because of their race. And other party leaders have closed ranks around. Former New York City Mayor Ruduolph Giuliani affirmed that "Michael Steele has us on a good track," citing the party's recent wins in Virginia and New Jersey gubernational races, as well as in the US Senate special election that netted a surprise victory for GOP Senator Scott Brown. And former House speaker Newt Gingrich offered a similar vote of confidence on the "Today Show", saying that "Michael Steele is capable of taking us through the midterm elections."
So far, the fallout from the fundraising scandals does not seem to have hurt the RNC's overall bottom line, the committee reported that it raked in $11.4 million in March donations--$4 million above its totals for February. But the Democratic National Committee still claims an edge in the funding wars as momentum continues building toward the midterm election season. DNC spokesman Havi Sevugan says that his operation "will do at least $13 million for March- nearly $2 million more than the RNC." As the rhetoric continues to fly in Washington, there is little doubt that Republican insiders will closely monitor this battle of the bottom lines as they wieigh Steele's prospects.
So should Steele resign? In addition, is Steele accurate when he says that both he and President Obama are not afforded "missteps" as the average white folk?