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Top RNC Aide Resigns in Strong Protest of Michael Steele


Republican National Committee (RNC) political director Gentry Collins reportedly delivered a stinging four-page resignation letter Tuesday morning which included a harsh indictment of reigning chairman Michael Steele. The letter, obtained by Politico, lays out private details of internal processes and politics of the RNC and condemns the "disorganization that plagues the [Republican] party."

Among Collins' chief complaints: Steele's (mis)management of the party's money.

“In the previous two non-presidential cycles, the RNC carried over $4.8 million and $3.1 million respectively in cash reserve balances into the presidential cycles,” Collins writes, underlining his words for emphasis. “In stark contrast, we enter the 2012 presidential cycle with 100% of the RNC’s $15 million in lines of credit tapped out, and unpaid bills likely to add millions to that debt.”

The short version of the RNC's 2010 troubles as described by Collins: The committee couldn’t afford to run an independent expenditure ad campaign on behalf of their candidates, didn’t fund a paid voter turnout operation for Senate and gubernatorial races, left its vaunted 72-Hour turnout program effectively unfunded, offered only a fraction of the direct-to-candidate financial contributions they made four years ago and dramatically scaled back its support of state parties.

Though the GOP captured success during the midterm election by any account, Collins says more could've been done and the party's money situation could've been substantially better.  The blame, Collins says, rests squarely on Steele.

Collins cites a study that he says found that the GOP could have won the Washington and Colorado Senate races with a better field operation and says that he’d chalk up narrow gubernatorial losses in Connecticut, Minnesota and Vermont to the same lack of funds for a ground game.

The veteran Republican operative also tallies 21 House contests in every corner of the country that he asserts “could have been competitive if not for lack of funds.”

As Politico notes, Steele has not yet announced whether he plans to seek a second two-year term as RNC chair and Collins' outgoing assessment will likely make it that much more difficult for Steele to succeed in a possible bid.

Collins' criticism comes just days after Steele went on camera to confront his critics, rebuffing their negative characterization of his leadership.

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