Two top congressional Republicans said Sunday the Republican National Committee must be held accountable for the way it uses the money it raises in light of nearly $2,000 spent for a night at a sex-themed Hollywood nightclub.
"This kind of thing has got to stop or they won't get any contributions," said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.
Kyl and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, who is leading the GOP effort to recruit candidates and elect House members, distanced themselves from RNC Chairman Michael Steele when discussing the committee's controversial spending.
Steele has come under fire for committee spending on flights, limousines and high-end hotels, but he was not present at the Voyeur Hollywood West on Jan. 31 when a group of young Republicans ran a tab picked up by the RNC. After reporters noted the bill in a funding report, the RNC fired a staffer it blamed for the outing and said it would be reimbursed by a donor who had attended.
Asked on "Fox News Sunday" if Steele should step down, Kyl demurred but said, "The people that contribute to the committees, both Democrat and Republican, want to know that their money is well spent for the cause, and it needs to be that way."
McCarthy, appearing on the same show, sidestepped the question of whether Steele has his full confidence.
"The RNC does have some challenges that they need to correct. Not only does the American people request it but the Republicans requested it as well," McCarthy said. "If we are going to show ... the American public that we believe in accountability and bringing it back to Washington, we have to make sure that the RNC has the accountability just the same."
He added: "I think Michael Steele has worked very hard. I think when you find the challenges going forward that you heard in the last week ... he's trying to correct it. But you've got to bring the trust back, and that may mean shaking some other roles inside the RNC as well."
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