Steele cleans house: RNC fires finance director and deputy

I don’t think it matters at this point, now that Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie have started building a new Death Star of Republican fundraising, but here you go. A long time coming, and it finally drops on a slow Friday night:

“As you may of heard [sic], the Chairman has asked for the resignation of Rob Bickhart and Debbie LeHardy from their positions in the Finance department,” Leavitt wrote. “While we appreciate their service to the RNC and wish them well in future endeavors, the Chairman felt it was important to restructure the department in order to continue to improve on our strong fundraising numbers.”

Bickhart, a veteran GOP hand on Capitol Hill, was reportedly behind a powerpoint presentation to Republican donors in February that promised a 2010 fundraising campaign based on “fear” of President Obama and socialism. The presentation also derided GOP donors as “ego-driven” and easily swayed by “tchochkes.” Steele was forced to publicly denounce the document when it was made public in March…

Bickhart will be replaced by Mary Heitman, formerly the finance director for the Republican Governors Association and RNC deputy finance director under former Chairman Haley Barbour.

The PowerPoint wasn’t the only rap on Bickhart. Remember that Washington Times story last month alleging that he exercised little actual financial control, that he supposedly acquiesced in his signature being forged to approve certain expenses, and that the contract he had with the RNC was so absurdly lucrative that the Committee’s own treasurer recommended tearing it up?

Here’s Steele on MSNBC this afternoon trying to contain his annoyance at Andrea Mitchell pestering him about the expensive, wholly unnecessary RNC winter junket to Hawaii. Look out for the line about “digging our way out of snowbanks.” Click the image to watch.

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