Under Ronna McDaniel’s leadership, the Republican National Committee has blown through millions upon millions of dollars to fund what appear to be unnecessary luxuries like first-class travel and fancy floral arrangements.
Since 2017, the year McDaniel was installed as chair, the RNC has specifically spent $3.1 million on private jets, $1.3 million on limousines, $17.1 million on donor mementos, $750,000 on floral arrangements, and $80,000 on alcohol, according to RedState.
The list below shows how much was spent just during fiscal year 2021-2022 alone:
- Luxury Travel: $1,364,211.46
- Private Jets: $505,909.43
- Floral: $321,671.46
- Home Improvement: $165,978.51
- Entertainment: $75,739.29
- Food/Beverage: $65,419.63
- Clothing Retailers: $64,141.13
- Non-Clothing Retailers: $55,489.21
- Alcohol: $36,567.92
- Spa/Cosmetics: $7,532.98
- Vehicle/Mechenical: $4,951.91
- LGBTQ+ Filings: $1,280.00
It’s not clear what “LGBTQ+ Filings” refers to.
Keep in mind that the list does suffer from some issues.
“It is difficult to accurately categorize all of the expenditures because a significant number of transactions seem to be misclassified,” according to RedState.
“For example, nearly $5,000 spent in 2022 at Lululemon, a luxury athletic apparel brand, was classified as ‘office expense,’ as were two expenditures totaling $9,300 at Madison Square Garden in 2017,” RedState notes.
That said, what’s known for certain is more than damaging enough.
For instance, the RNC has spent $400,000 on what RedState describes as “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 Madison Square Garden, and $43,000 at Top Golf locations in Texas, Nevada, Virginia, and Maryland.”
That’s a lot of money spent having fun versus promoting the GOP’s agenda.
“According to a senior staffer, the private box Raiders game was part of a retreat for senior staff members. RNC funds were also used to fly the senior staffers and their plus-ones first-class to Las Vegas, and for their hotel rooms, food, and alcohol, the staffer says,” RedState further notes.
Senior staff retreats were also reportedly held at the Salamander Resort & Spa in Virginia in 2021 and 2022.
“A national committee member says that at the 2021 retreat, held from March 19-21, 30 senior staffers and their families attended, and the RNC paid for Katie Walsh and Mike Shields to speak to the group. FEC reporting shows that the RNC paid $260,000 to the resort in 2021 and 2022, classified as travel expenses and venue rental and catering,” according to RedState.
That’s a lot of money for RNC staffers to live the high life for a weekend or two:
Under McDaniel, the RNC has also spent $150,000 on non-essential office expenses, including $25,000 on coffee, $7,000 on cupcakes, $7,000 on candles, and $75,000 total at Pottery Barn, West Elm, Restoration Hardware, and Crate & Barrel.
As for essential office expenses like furniture, the committee has spent $381,000.
There’s also another $100,000 that was reportedly spent at luxury clothing stores such as Rhoback, REI, Nordstrom, Vineyard Vines, Footjoy, Ralph Lauren, Carhartt, and Smathers & Branson.
“An RNC vendor [says] that the Vineyard Vines expense ($12,000) was likely for embroidered jackets RNC staffers recently received,” according to RedState.
But were the exorbitant jackets really necessary? After all, did the purchase of the jackets help Republicans perform better during the midterms? It seems likely not.
The same question can be asked about the $17 million in ridiculously expensive mementos that the RNC has purchased for its donors.
“Custom pins by legendary DC jeweler Ann Hand and Christmas ornaments from Chemart (the company that makes the White House Christmas ornaments) are listed as donor memento expenses, but the financials also include $65,000 in office supplies from Ann Hand and $28,000 from Chemart,” RedState notes.
I used to contribute to the RNC and it bugged me when they sent all the mementos and plastic cards saying I was a member. Not necessary
— cathy krueger (@1stavecathy) December 15, 2022
But it gets worse.
The records reviewed by RedState “also include more than $100,000 in hair/makeup services and dry cleaning expenses, which presumably are for McDaniel’s media appearances and wardrobe.”
Now combine all these expenses and compare them to how much the Democrat National Committee has spent, and the contrast becomes shocking: The DNC has reportedly spent only $1.5 million on donor gifts, $35,000 on private jets, and $1,000 on floral arrangements. Big difference.
But who’s to blame for all these frivolous purchases? Part of the problem, according to an anonymous RNC member who spoke with RedState, is a total lack of transparency.
“We are only provided with top-line financial numbers during our meetings, with no specificity, and when I’ve asked the budget chair for more information, he has been unable to provide it,” the member said, adding that those who demand more information are ultimately labeled as troublemakers.
The release of these stunning findings comes amid a growing movement to oust McDaniel from her seat and replace her with someone like, say, attorney Harmeet Dhillon.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) December 6, 2022
“[A] bitter battle has unfolded between McDaniel, a tough-to-beat incumbent with institutional support, and Dhillon, who is counting on grassroots pressure for change to keep her afloat in what many consider an uphill battle,” CNN reported Thursday.
Indeed, many expect McDaniel to easily cruise to victory without any substantive difficulty. It doesn’t help that Dhillon has her own baggage.
“[A]n anonymous email account has aggressively attacked Dhillon over the lucrative legal fees she’s collected from both the RNC and Trump’s political action committees, forcing McDaniel to condemn the account in a private note to members – some of whom wondered if she had authorized the emails,” according to CNN.
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