November 16th, 2010
02:33 PM ET
12 years ago

RNC political director resigns, criticizes Steele

Washington (CNN) – Republican National Committee Political Director Gentry Collins, a respected political operative in GOP circles, quit the committee Tuesday with a biting letter to chairman Michael Steele complaining in detail about the party committee's troubled financial situation.

"Sadly, if left on its current path, the RNC will not be a productive force in the 2012 campaign to deny President Obama a second term, retain our House majority, and elect a Senate majority," Collins wrote in the letter, which was also sent to members of the RNC's Executive Committee.

Read the full letter

The letter was first reported by Politico and later provided to CNN by a member of the committee.

Collins, an Iowa campaign veteran, wrote that the committee "allowed its major donor base to wither" and collected just $170 million this cycle compared to $243 million during the 2006 midterm cycle.

Much of the money, he wrote, came from small donations online instead of personal solicitations from the chairman.

As a result, Collins argued, the RNC was "dramatically under-resourced" during the midterm cycle, handcuffing state party victory operations and perhaps costing the GOP 21 additional House seats "that could have been competitive if not for lack of funds."

The sharply-worded missive is striking not just because of the timing, as multiple Republicans dissatisfied with Steele's leadership line up to run for the top RNC post in January, but also because the publicity-averse Collins chose to remain on staff at the committee throughout several personnel shake-ups that saw the departures of other skilled strategists.

The letter seems to verify whispers among Republican operatives that Collins, behind closed doors, vented to Steele and other top RNC staffers about the committee's use of funds, including disbursements to party organizations in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands.

UPDATE: RNC spokesman Doug Heye emailed the following statement in response to the news.

“For the first time in 16 years the Republican Party held neither the White House or either Chamber of Congress. Despite lacking that fundraising advantage, the RNC was able to raise more than $175 million, over $24 million more than the RNC raised during the entire 1994 cycle and over $36 million more than the DNC raised during the entire 2006 cycle, indexed for inflation. Our resources enabled us to expand the playing field to all 50 states and break records with 45 million voter contacts, over 200,000 volunteers, 360 Victory field offices and 358 Victory field staffers. These accomplishments are shared by our entire team at the RNC as well as volunteers, donors and state parties. Their efforts enabled us to contribute to the most successful elections for the Republican Party in modern times.”

Filed under: Michael Steele • RNC
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Jen Randle MO

    Music to my ears! Hope they shrink up and wither away like snake skin.

    November 16, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    I hope Michael Steele is hip to the fact that if McCain had won, instead of Obama, he would not have gotten the top GOP job. Just like if Obama chose Hillary for VP, we don't get the Alaskan Princess, either. It's tit for tat politics – period!

    November 16, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. T'sah from Virginia

    And it all come 'tumbling' down!!! Steele should have taken a hike a long time ago. Now that the RepubliCAN'T Party has gone "TEA", there is NO ROOM for anyone of COLOR!!!!

    Steele should WAKE UP and smell the TEA LEAVES and LEAVE!!!!

    ALL Politicians need to GET OUT of Campaign MODE and N2 Moving America Forward with our current Leader, President Obama!!!

    November 16, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  4. Linda

    Collins failed to mention all of the money that they received from unknown sources. I remember when the RNC had that first trouble with money being spent unwisely, people stated that they would give their money to the candidates instead of the committee. What is the problem now. Didn't he know that already?

    November 16, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. kyle from ohio

    Mike Steele has been tossed under the bus; don't need your help Bro! See you later.

    November 16, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. No Tea For Me

    Money, Money, Money that's what this party has become. Forget about helping Americans.They did alright, bought and paid for by corporations.

    November 16, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. fayse1

    The number one goal of the GOP is to regain the White House. They do not care how they do it, they do not care if the divide the Country with vicious lies and half truths, they do not care about the American People. The GOP willl use vote of the American people as a means to an end. Even though the Tea Party clearly wants things to change in Washington DC

    November 16, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Peter s

    Sorry Steel it's about time to be thrown under the bus! time to stop asking we sick?

    November 16, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  9. Clwyd

    I love hearing all these wonderful words about a party I can't stand (hate) and I hope Americans will come to despise in the coming years!

    November 16, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Bob, Virginia

    The wheels on the bus go round and round....too bad Mikey will be under then this time around.

    Time for Mikey to look for his next job at which he is guaranteed to fail.

    Say good night, Mikey.

    November 16, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    All those lavish trips tio Hawaii and private jets and limos is what drove him away. Michale Steele is next out the door.

    November 16, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    It has been apparent for quite sometime that the RNC was done with their use of Steele. He had served his purpose of being their mouthpiece at the beginning of the Obama administration lest the voters take exception to their disrespectful treatment of the President. Once the Teatard Party gained momentum Steele was steadily cast aside. He has been forced to play 3rd and 4th fiddle to the likes of the Half-Wit half-termer, Teatard personalities like Sharron Angle, and Boo-Hoo Boehner who have taken the forefront in demonizing anything this administration has done, or proposes to do.
    The results of the mid-term elections were the last nails on Steele's coffin.
    No skin off my back though. He got what he deserved for being one of the most arrogantly blind,and useless puppets in the history of politcal theater.
    Et tu Brutus? Obama is still President of the United States while you'll be but a comma in the history books.
    Who's sorry now?

    November 16, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |

    You need to understand that color is thicker than water. This man should have been removed when Obama was elected. He was left there to do all the damage he could do. So now get rid of him and move on.

    November 16, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans are keeping score to make their case for kicking Steele off the bus without being called what Limbaugh said "Democrats are racist and trying to put Clyburn in the back of the bus". I'm having a lot of fun with watching Republicans scramble on this one and more fun watching because it was Steele himself who said when asked "what do you think about Obama's presidency and Steele said "So, I'm head of the RNC". LOL

    November 16, 2010 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  15. thomas

    I thought Michael Steele was moving to Guam !

    November 16, 2010 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. once upon a horse

    if Mike Steele gets kicked out like Sen DeMint hopes will happen, just wonder where ol' Mikey will go. He has really burned his bridges with the AA comunity not only for being dis-respectful to President Obama (you can disagree withouth doing thye way Steele did) but running back to kiss the ring and apologize to Rush Limbaugh after he called Rush out on some of the outlandish things he says. The GOP used Mr. Steele to try to show America how "diverse" they are. Now that they have power in the House, along with a few new AA GOP faces there (like Congressman WEST of all people) Steele is no longer needed. Although President Obama will go down in histroy as the first AA POTUS, I doubt if Mike Steele will even be much of a footnote when the same chapter is written.

    November 16, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Nancy Pelosi, the wicked witch of the west, the DemocRAT gift that just keeps on giving

    It is time for a change Steele. Party unity is KEY for the 2012 election. You cannot be another distraction like you were in 2010 with all of your verbal gaffes. Please don't do a Pelosi on us.

    November 16, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |