Analysis of RNC spending since 2017 shows millions have been spent on private jets, limos, luxury retreats, Broadway shows, and more.

In 2010, RNC chairman Michael Steele was heavily criticized and eventually lost his job. because donors were angry about what they believed to be luxurious spending on private jets, flower arrangements, chauffeur services, and member meetings in expensive tropical locations. Donors were used to the frugality of the RNC under the George W. Bush administration, when “Karl Rove would bitch if there were flowers on the tables” and staff parties were hosted by Chick-fil-A.

Despite Joe Biden’s economy and three consecutive cycles of election losses, the RNC’s big-spending days are back with a vengeance.

Perhaps because of these losses, RNC donors and committee members are intensely interested in committee finances, especially expenses. Late last week, RedState received a report dated October 7, 2022 that reviewed RNC’s 2021-2022 spending. He calculated more than $500,000 in private jet spending, $64,000 at clothing retailers and $321,000 in floral arrangements.

RNC spending on private jets, floral arrangements, entertainment and more during the 2021-22 election cycle.

To determine how this compares to the rest of Ronna McDaniel’s term, RedState reviewed the RNC’s spending from 2017 to 2022. In addition to a review of Federal Election Commission (FEC) data, RedState spoke with current vendors, state party officials familiar with the operation, former staff (some from McDaniel’s tenure and others who worked for past presidents) and several current RNC members to verify the numbers and dates. Most were only willing to discuss the issues in the background, and all were promised anonymity to avoid possible retaliation.

It is difficult to accurately categorize all expenses because a large number of transactions seem misclassified. For example, nearly $5,000 spent in 2022 on lululemona luxury sportswear brand, was classified as “office expenses,” as were two expenses totaling $9,300 at Madison Square Garden in 2017.

Our review found that the amounts spent during the 2021-22 election cycle appear to have been par for the course and possibly even lower than previous portions of McDaniel’s tenure. According FEC depositssince 2017, the RNC has spent:

  • $3.1 million in private jet services
  • $1.3 million in limo/driver services
  • $17.1 million in donor memorabilia
  • $750,000 in flower arrangements
  • $80,000 in alcohol-related expenses

Nearly $400,000 was spent on event tickets and other entertainment activities, including $30,000 for a private box at a Las Vegas Raiders game, $13,000 for Broadway shows, $9,400 at the Madison Square Garden and $43,000 at top golf venues in Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland.

According to a senior executive, the Raiders’ private game was part of a retreat for senior executives. RNC funds were also used to fly senior executives and their plus-ones first class to Las Vegas, as well as their hotel rooms, food and alcohol, the staffer said.

Senior management retreats were also held at Salamander Resort & Spa in Virginia in 2021 and 2022, according to another staff member. A national committee member said that at the 2021 retreat, which was held March 19-21, 30 senior executives and their families attended, and the RNC paid Katie Walsh and Mike Shields to speak to the group. FEC reports show the RNC paid $260,000 to the resort in 2021 and 2022, categorized as travel expenses and venue rental and catering.

Dates of various entertainment expenses were provided to former staff and National Committee members, who confirmed that there were no donor events or other official RNC events at these times- the.

Under current management, the RNC has spent over $150,000 on what could be considered non-essential office expenses, including $25,000 for Commonwealth Cafe Joe, $7,000 in cupcakes, nearly $7,000 in candles and diffusers and $75,000 in total at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel. Additionally, FEC committee reports show expenses totaling $381,000 categorized as “furniture expenses” during the same period.

Over $100,000 was spent on high-end clothing stores such as RhobackREI, Nordstrom, vineyard vines, Joy of the feetRalph Lauren, Carharttand Smathers and Branson. An RNC supplier told RedState that Vineyard Vines’ expenses ($12,000) were likely related to embroidered jackets that RNC staffers recently received.

Smathers & Branson loafers, $425. CREDIT:

According to the financial statements, the RNC is quite generous to its donors, spending $17 million on donor memorabilia — and possibly more — during McDaniel’s tenure. Custom pins by legendary DC jeweler Ann Hand and Chemart Christmas Decorations (the company that makes the White House Christmas decorations) are listed as donor keepsake expenses, but the financial statements also include $65,000 in office supplies from Ann Hand and $28,000 from Chemart.

2017 White House Christmas ornament by Chemart/Beacon Designs, left; pin by Ann Hand, right.

The records also include more than $100,000 in hair/makeup services and dry cleaning expenses, which are presumably for media appearances and McDaniel’s wardrobe. Dry cleaning expenses are categorized primarily as office supplies or travel expenses, while hairdressing/makeup services are categorized as media preparation.

For perspective, the Democratic National Committee spent $1.5 million on donor gifts, $35,000 on private jets and just $1,000 on floral arrangements during the 2021-22 election cycle. Longtime RNC committee members who spoke with RedState said outside of Michael Steele’s time as chairman, it was not common for the chairman to use private jet or chauffeur services.

A committee member who spoke to RedState on condition of anonymity said: ‘We only get top-notch financial numbers at our meetings, not specifics, and when I asked the budget chair for more information. , he was unable to provide this.” The member added that there is general frustration with the lack of financial transparency among committee members, but that members who request more information are referred to as troublemakers.

Major donors who learn about spending are understandably unhappy with how their contributions are being spent. Country music star and RNC donor John Rich, who has openly criticized RNC spending and McDaniel herself, told RedState:

“The RNC management has taken advantage of millions of regular and ordinary conservatives by pretending to support what the Patriots stand for, but in reality they are spending countless amounts of money on outlandish nonsense and supporting RINO candidates while ignoring pretenders to America First. They are nothing more than controlled opposition. The RNC ran ads in 2021 to raise funds under the phrase “Fight for Trump!” while simultaneously telling Trump and his team to ‘step back’ from questioning the election results, saying he was ‘ruining the party’.

“The RNC has betrayed its supporters, and for my part, I will never help them raise another red penny until the Judas elements of the organization have been purged.”

McDaniel did not respond to RedState’s request for comment before publication.

(NOTE: McDaniel’s opponent in the upcoming RNC presidential election, Harmeet Dhillon, is representing RedState editor Jennifer Van Laar in a dispute related to former Rep. Katie Hill, and Van Laar backed Dhillon in the race for the RNC presidency.)

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