May 7th, 2010
06:09 PM ET
13 years ago

RNC fires finance director in wake of spending scandals

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Two RNC staffers have been fired in the wake of two scandals."](CNN) - The Republican National Committee has fired Finance Director Rob Bickhart in the wake of a two embarrassing scandals that originated in the committee's fundraising department.

Deputy Finance Director Debbie LeHardy has also been removed from her post.

RNC Chief of Staff Michael Leavitt informed the RNC's 168 members of the decision in an e-mail Friday.

"As you may of heard, the Chairman has asked for the resignation of Rob Bickhart and Debbie LeHardy from their positions in the Finance department," Leavitt wrote. "While we appreciate their service to the RNC and wish them well in future endeavors, the Chairman felt it was important to restructure the department in order to continue to improve on our strong fundraising numbers."

Bickhart, a veteran GOP hand on Capitol Hill, was reportedly behind a powerpoint presentation to Republican donors in February that promised a 2010 fundraising campaign based on "fear" of President Obama and socialism. The presentation also derided GOP donors as "ego-driven" and easily swayed by "tchochkes." Steele was forced to publicly denounce the document when it was made public in March.

A bigger scandal erupted later that month when it was revealed that the RNC approved a $2,000 expenditure at a Hollywood nightclub featuring topless dancers in bondage gear. That news set off a firestorm within the party and resulted in the departures of several top RNC officials, including then-Chief of Staff Ken McKay and longtime Steele consultant Curt Anderson.

Both stories exacerbated worries among top GOP donors that the committee, traditionally the Republican Party's biggest fundraising machine, has mishandled its finances under Steele.

Bickhart will be replaced by Mary Heitman, formerly the finance director for the Republican Governors Association and RNC deputy finance director under former Chairman Haley Barbour.

"We are well positioned for victory this fall and look forward to working with Mary to continue to improve upon our strong fundraising numbers and provide the support necessary to win elections," Steele said in a statement.

Filed under: Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. George of the jungle

    Love the way the repos stick togeather. If neither story had been made public it would have been business as usual. They eat their own

    May 7, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. joel palmer

    Same old circus with brand new clowns

    May 7, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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