Ronna McDaniel has been chair of the Republican National Committee since 2017, and during that span of time has overseen three consecutive election cycles in which Republicans largely lost and fell short of expectations.
Now there is a growing chorus of conservatives calling for leadership change at the RNC, including author and pundit Mark Levin, who said this week that McDaniel ought to be “removed” from her position, Breitbart reported.
McDaniel is currently campaigning for her fourth term in a row as head of the RNC but is facing a concerted challenge for that role from California-based conservative civil rights attorney Harmeet Dhillon.
On his radio show on Thursday, Breitbart reported that Levin said of McDaniel, “She needs to go … She needs to be removed.”
Where did all of the money go?
Levin’s remarks came in reference to a bombshell exclusive report from RedState that exposed the extravagant and seemingly unnecessary spending on luxury items and travel under McDaniel’s watch over the past few years. The analysis was based on a leaked financial report covering the 2021-2022 period as well as prior expense filings with the Federal Election Commission.
The leaked report, dated Oct. 7, showed that more than $1.3 million was spent on “luxury travel,” more than $500,000 on “private jets,” and more than $300,000 on floral arrangements in just the past year alone. The report also showed tens of thousands of dollars were spent on each of several other categories, including alcohol, food and beverages, entertainment, and retail shopping for clothing and other items, among other things.
When the prior FEC reports were added in with this new report, and with an acknowledgment that some expenses were miscategorized or not readily apparent, the spending by the RNC since 2017 under McDaniel appears quite excessive.
All told, it includes approximately $17.1 million on mementos for donors, $3.1 million on private jets, $1.3 million on chauffeurs and limousines, three-quarters of a million on floral arrangements, almost $400,000 on tickets for sports and entertainment, and more than $80,000 for alcohol.
Democrats spend money on actually winning elections
The real kicker, though, was a comparison by RedState of the RNC’s financials to the reported spending of the rival Democratic National Committee during the 2021-2022 cycle, which amounted to little more than about $1.5 million for donor gifts, just $35,000 for private jets, and a mere $1,000 on floral arrangements.
According to Legal Insurrection, Mark Levin wasn’t the only voice on the right to highlight the damning RedState report about the RNC’s spending under McDaniel, as Fox News host Tucker Carlson briefly discussed it on his show Thursday evening.
Carlson took particular note of the great disparity between the RNC’s and DNC’s spending on luxury items and travel and surmised that Democrats must have put the vast majority of the funds they raised toward the goal of winning elections, “which they did.”
McDaniel vs. Dhillon
For what it is worth, an RNC spokesperson issued a statement in response to RedState’s report that downplayed the expenses as a tiny fraction of the total funds raised and launched an accusatory attack against the author of the “hit piece” against McDaniel, Jennifer Van Larr, and attorney Dhillon, who represented Van Laar in separate litigation and has received the author’s support in her bid to be the next leader of the RNC.
Dhillon, however, appeared on Fox News with host Laura Ingraham to further expound on the situation and rightly noted that the excessive spending by the RNC likely wouldn’t be an issue for conservatives and Republicans if the organization under McDaniel had actually been winning elections instead of losing each cycle.
Thank you @IngrahamAngle for having me tonight to discuss reporting by @jenvanlaar on how the RNC spends precious donor dollars. Bigger issue is hundreds of millions blown on consultants who fail. No one cares about floral excess if you are winning elections. Time for change! 🕰️ pic.twitter.com/hEEVt6LYu5
— Harmeet K. Dhillon (@pnjaban) December 16, 2022