[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/31/art.perkins.file.gi.jpg caption="Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has asked followers to refrain from donating to the RNC."](CNN) - The head of an influential social conservative organization urged supporters Wednesday to stop donating to the Republican National Committee and instead contribute to its own coffers or to candidates with like-minded goals.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made the plea in his "Washington Update" column posted on the organization's Web site following the revelation that the RNC paid for a night out at a risqué Hollywood nightclub.
"I've hinted at this before, but now I am saying it - don't give money to the RNC," Perkins wrote in his column. "If you want to put money into the political process, and I encourage you to do so, give directly to candidates who you know reflect your values. Better yet, become a member of FRC Action and learn about the benefits it offers, including participating in the FRC Action PAC which can support candidates who will advance faith, family and freedom!"
Perkins is the latest social conservative leader to openly criticize RNC Chairman Michael Steele for allowing the controversial expenditure to happen under his watch. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pennsylvania, and Penny Nance, the head of Conservative Women for America, both publicly questioned Steele's leadership after the nightclub story mushroomed into a major headache for the RNC.
"If the RNC wants to represent conservatives and the Republican Party, then they have to act like conservatives - in a moral, fiscal and ethical manner," Nance said. "When RNC officials seem to think it wise to spend a grandmother's monthly donation on wooing the younger generation by taking them to a bondage-themed sex club instead of helping to elect a conservative, a real problem exists."
The RNC has emphasized that Steele was not at the club, nor did he approve of the expense. The staffer who did has since been fired.