[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/05/art.rnc.gi.jpg caption="Top RNC aide Ken McKay resigned on Monday."]
Washington (CNN) – The Republican National Committee's chief of staff has resigned, an RNC spokesman said Monday.
Ken McKay's departure follows a spate of high-profile complaints about the party's fund-raising operations and spending. In an e-mail sent to RNC members and obtained by CNN, party Chairman Michael Steele said he accepted McKay's resignation to reassure "hard-working patriots" who donate to the party.
"Leadership requires that any distractions from our most serious mission be addressed immediately and decisively," he wrote. "Leadership requires that I can safely assure you, our donors, and the American people that our mission is what drives every dollar we spend, every phone call we make, every email we send and every event we organize. Recent events have called that assurance into question, and the buck stops with me. That is why I have made this change in my management team and why I am confident about going forward to November with
renewed focus and energy."
McKay will be replaced by Mike Leavitt, who is the RNC's deputy chief of staff for external communications, RNC spokesman Doug Heye told CNN.
But soon after the announcement, one of Steele's allies announced that he was cutting ties with the RNC. Curt Anderson, who helped engineer Steele's victory as chairman, said in an e-mail that his political strategy firm was stepping aside.
"Ken McKay's departure is a huge loss for the Republican Party. Ken steered the party through very successful elections last fall that have given us tremendous momentum," Anderson wrote. "He's a great talent. Given our firm's commitments to campaigns all over the country, we have concluded it is best for us to step away from our advisory role at the RNC."
Anderson added, "We have high personal regard for the chairman and always have. We wish him well."