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New RNC Chairman Priebus Fires 2012 Convention Committee


"There are some changes that need to be made to ensure a successful convention."

New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus didn't wast time fulfilling one of his campaign promises this weekend: he fired the 2012 Republican convention planning committee after charges of mismanagement and nepotism surfaced.

On Sunday, Priebus asked for and received the resignation of Belinda Cook, who was working as the top RNC official organizing the convention set to take place in Tampa, FL.

"This is just the first step toward organizing a convention that all of us and our 2012 Republican Presidential nominee can be proud of," Priebus said in an email to committee members and obtained by National Journal.

"There are some changes that need to be made to ensure a successful convention. Those changes start today," he said. "I have discontinued the employment of the convention liaison and the employees of the Committee on Arrangements, effective immediately."

According to the Journal, the convention has already cost the RNC $600,000, and the organizing committeee owes the RNC another $160,000. But it's where that money was being spent that drew the ire of Priebus. The Tampa Tribune details the extravagant expenses and nepotism:

Cook has been paid a salary equivalent to about $180,000 a year by the Committee on Arrangements, plus a $25,000 consulting fee for July, according to Federal Election Commission records. FEC records also show her son and niece, and a college friend of her son, on the Committee on Arrangements payroll, plus more than $25,000 in payments to a consulting firm belonging to Cook's sister.

The committee has also been paying $4,500 a month for Cook's housing: an expansive waterfront home in Treasure Island.

The convention is still scheduled to take place in Tampa. Despite the allegations of mismanagement and spending more money than past conventions, Cook and other committee members have responded by saying that's only because planning for the 2012 convention started much earlier than in years past.

That excuse apparently fell on deaf ears.

Former RNC head Michael Steele hired Cook after she served as his longtime personal assistant. But as her extravagant spending came to light recently, Priebus's platform included a promise to fire her.

On Sunday, he fulfilled his promise.

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