Priebus: Steele Saddled RNC With $23 Million in Debt

Monday, 31 Jan 2011 09:59 PM

Both political parties finished last year in debt, Federal Election Commission records show. The Republican National Committee owed $21 million, according to the FEC, and the Democratic National Committee had a debt of $16 million.

The Republicans’ new chairman, Reince Priebus, said Monday that the debt has grown to $23 million, including $8 million in unpaid bills, so far this year. The RNC has shed employees and is working to boost fundraising, both from small donors and from larger contributors, he said. The amount of money raised from big donors is at a 10-year low, he said.

Priebus, the former head of the Wisconsin Republican Party, was elected in January to succeed Michael Steele, who failed in his bid for a second two-year term. Steele was criticized over his management of the RNC’s finances, with members blaming him for the debt that they said undercut efforts to promote the party’s candidates.

FEC filings show the RNC had $725,654 in the bank as of Dec. 31. The party raised $196 million between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, down from $243 million during the same period four years ago for the previous midterm election.

The DNC, which reported having $6.2 million in the bank, raised $224 million between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010, the first two-year period since 1993-94 that the party controlled the White House and Congress. In 2005-06, when the Republicans controlled the executive and legislative branches, the DNC raised $131 million.

In the 2010 elections, the Republicans captured control of the U.S. House and increased their number of U.S. senators, governors, and state legislators.

“We have a long way to go to build the world-class political organization necessary to defeat President Obama” in the 2012 elections, Priebus said. “I will accept nothing less.”

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