Republican National Committee

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The Republican National Committee (or RNC) is the official organization representing the Republican Party in American politics and serves as the party's main fundraising arm.

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The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.


The primary responsibilities of the RNC are as follows:

  • Developing and promoting the Republican political platform.
  • Coordinating fundraising and election strategy.
  • Organizing and running the Republican National Convention.

When he became RNC Chairman in 2005, Ken Mehlman listed as his goals:

  • Enacting and articulating the party’s reform agenda.
  • Deepening and broadening the party’s membership.
  • Working to elect the best candidates in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
  • Institutionalizing a grassroots focus.

2012 Election

As of 1st November 2012, the Republican National Committee has raised over $369 million dollars and have spent nearly $300 million in the favor of Republican Candidates at various levels of government in preparation for the 2012 election cycle. [1] These expenditures include over $21 million for advertisements and organizations in favor of Mitt Romney, and nearly $34 million in advertisements and organizations opposing Barack Obama.


Contributions to the Republican National Committee during the 2012 election year have come largely from the financial industry. Nearly 60 million has come from investments firms. There is also $30 million that has come from individuals who list themselves as retired. Energy, largely coming from big oil and gas, has contributed $10 million to the RNC. The top 5 largest contributors to the Republican National Committee in 2012 are as follows:

Misuse of RNC funds

In late March 2010, newspapers reported the use of RNC donor money being spent at a risqué Hollywood night club, Voyeur, which features topless dancers and bondage acts. The outing to the club appeared on the RNC's monthly Federal Election Commission disclosure report as a $2,000 expenditure. [2] "Erik Brown of Orange, Calif., a Republican consultant and donor, submitted a reimbursement request for $1,946.25 from his club visit on Jan. 31. He listed the amount as a meal expense at the club, whose interior was inspired by an orgy scene in the movie Eyes Wide Shut.”[2]

Other expenditures in February support the conclusion that the RNC is not efficiently allocating donors' funds. According to the New York Times, "the February filings to the Federal Election Commission show that the Republican committee spent $17,500 on travel by private jet, in addition to about $15,000 on limousines. The report also listed several hotel charges ranging in the thousands of dollars, including the W Hotel in Washington ($15,000), the Beverly Hills Hotel ($9,000) and the Four Seasons in Philadelphia ($7,000)."[2] Prior to Michael Steele taking over as RNC Chairman, the RNC had $22 million in cash on hand. This month, the RNC record shows only $9.46 million in cash.[2] Steele has faced great criticism from within his party. He has responded in kind. "Mr. Steele told KTRS radio in St. Louis: 'I am in this chair. If they want it, take it from me. Until then, shut up, step back and get in the game and help us win.'”[2]

The New York Times also reported

“Bondage-gate,” as it’s been called — the unfortunate convergence of Republican Party donors and a Hollywood sex club with a lesbian theme — has led to the dismissal of a party staffer, an inquiry into the use of donor money and gleeful late-night television jokes (“Me likey,” Jon Stewart quipped), but, really, is it such a big deal? [3]

The article goes on to further discuss why this situation is particularly bad for Republicans

“The whole situation here is the image of the Republican Party, which seems to view itself as a group with extremely high standards of morality,” said Steve Karel, the marketing director at Larry Flynt’s Hustler Club in New York. “The problem is not that strip clubs are risqué environments.”[3]

Steele was under fire for this frivolous and inappropriate expenditure as well as falling behind in fund raising, staff problems, and appearing across the U.S. for paid speaking engagements. [4] When "confronting criticism of the committee for picking up a $2,000 tab for donors and staff at a West Hollywood strip and bondage club, Mr. Steele said in response to a question on Good Morning America on ABC that he and President Obama were being held to tougher standards because they were black."[4] Steele fired his chief of staff, Ken McKay, and blamed him for spending abuses, including the strip club.[4]


As of January 2011:


Contact details

Republican National Committee
310 First Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202 863-8500
Fax: 202 863-8820
E-mail: info AT

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Open Secrets RNC Profile Accessed 11/1/2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jeff Zeleny and Bernie Becker,"$2,000 Bill From Topless Club Leads GOP Inquiry," "New York Times," March 29, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alan Feuer,"Sex Business Backs the Party Animal,", "New York Times," April 2, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Adam Nagourney, "GOP Squirms as Spotlight Focuses on Its Leader,", "New York Times," April 6, 2010.
  5. Reince Priebus profile, The Washington Post, accessed January 2011.

External resources

External articles