Does Michael Steele have some 'splainin' to do in St. Pete?

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The publication that broke the story, the Daily Caller, also is reporting that Steele once inquired about using private money to buy a private jet for his travel.  That story contains plenty of other Republicans trash talking the RNC Chair, who has been under fire repeatedly since winning the party chairmanship a year ago.  That includes criticism of the number one job that party chairs have, which is to raise money:

The March 20 FEC filing shows the RNC has $9.5 million cash on hand. Steele began his tenure with $22.8 million, and has since raised $96.2 million. During the same period, however, the RNC has spent $109.6 million, for a deficit of $13.4 million. That spending included aid to the campaigns that elected Gov. Bob McDonnell in Virginia and Gov. Chris Christie in New Jersey.

“The story is less what’s left, and more what’s been spent,” said one longtime Republican operative. “It’s difficult to draw distinctions between various elections because the circumstances are so different. But what is worthy of scrutiny is the March cash on hand versus where it was January or February last year, which is essentially the same picture. And that comes despite having raised more than $90 million dollars."

MSNBC's First Read reports a Tampa connection to all this:

First Read also found more than $1,500 in "equipment rental" charges from "Casino Parties" in Tampa, FL.

Looking forward to hearing from the chairman this afternoon.

Members of the Republican National Committee wrap up their four day whirlwind tour of the Tampa Bay area this afternoon with a news conference at the Renaissance Vinoy hotel in St. Petersburg.

The site selection team arrived in Tampa on Saturday night, and have been enjoying the best of what the Tampa/St. Pete area has to offer as a potential site for the 2012 Republican National Convention.  Just like they did four years ago.  And eight years ago.

But hey, this time Tampa's competition is "just" Pheonix and Salt Lake City.  Can't miss this time, right?

We'll find out soon enough.  But reporters today in St. Pete and across the country should be looking forward to hearing RNC Chair Michael Steele react to the news reported yesterday that the Republican National Committee spend $1,946 in February at a sex-themed Hollywood club that features topless dancers and bondage outfits.

Politico reports that the expense is the latest example of what they see as a "careless attitude"  Steele has taken in spending RNC funds during his chairman.  And even though the chairman himself has plausible denial that he was ever in Voyeur West Hollywood, he's taking more heat from GOP money men.

"The RNC cannot attack Democrats for how the government spends taxpayer money when it is spending Republican donor money recklessly. Recent RNC spending stories suggest a tone-deafness at best and a misappropriation of funds at worst,” added Mike DeMoss, a longtime RNC donor who served as a liaison to Evangelical community for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

“Given that RNC funds were used to pay or reimburse a bill at a night club, it is immaterial whether or not Chairman Steele was actually there himself,” said DeMoss. “Ultimately, the RNC can spend however it wishes—it just may have less to spend the next time around. Sadly, the RNC could have been setting a new standard of political party fiscal responsibility; instead, we’re talking about expense reports with entertainment at a bondage club.

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