Not if one looks at the expense reports of Michael Steele, Chairman of the RNC:
According to two knowledgeable sources, Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele once raised the possibility of using party money to buy a private jet for his travel.
“I know that … regular ongoing use of planes was something that was looked at,” says one person with direct knowledge. “I can’t speak to how serious those inquiries were.” Both sources say Steele considered purchasing a plane outright, or buying fractional ownership in one, through a company such as NetJets.
Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a “plan” to buy a plane. “I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed.”
While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.
Tooling around in charter planes and limos. Nice. The Republicans do that. The Democrats don't. The article continues:
Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
Wait, what? Let me read that again…
…and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.
The Republican Party: the party of "family values"?
UPDATE: The RNC is pushing back, asserting that the money spent at the sex club was for "meals" (oh, is that what they call it nowadays?) and that Michael Steele did not run up that particular bill. Instead, the RNC says, it was an expense from a consultant: Erik Brown, president of the Orange County-based Dynamic Marketing, Inc.
Assuming the RNC response is true, I think it misses the point. Flesh-and-blood Americans donate to the RNC to get their candidates elected, and those people might rightfully ask why their hard-earned donations are being used to reimburse the expense for a wild night (nights?) of sexual frolics enjoyed by RNC consultants. If the Republican Party can't mind its own store, how can it be trusted to run the country's coffers?
UPDATE: The GOP is pushing back again, with the lame argument that the DNC spent money on…. hotels and catering. Uh, why, yes. but private planes? Bondaged-themed nightclubs? No. Give it up, GOP.