RNC - Connecticut
To: RNC Members
From: Chris Healy
Subject: Questions on Preibus
As the race for the Chairmanship enters its final stages, it is critical we focus on the tasks
ahead but also review how we got here through the tangled relationship of Wisconsin
Chairman Reince Preibus and RNC Chairman Michael Steele.
The candidates are making their case, and let’s hope there is more than the usual banter
and endless metaphors and overripe cliché’s when the candidates meet on Monday. As
we listen, it is essential that each of us examine the role each of us played over the last
This would apply in particular to Chairman Preibus, who was until a few weeks ago,
the Chief Counsel to our Party and Chairman Steele’s wingman throughout his stormy
tenure. At no time until he chose to run did Preibus issue any directive,
memo or public utterance on Steele’s disastrous tenure. Now he wishes to walk
into breach and rescue us from Chairman Steele, his legions and supporters who have
done quite well for themselves at the expense of our Party.
When Steele was elected Chairman, he had good will, eager groups of employees
and supporters and $22 million in the bank. Chairman Steele chose Preibus to
be his General Counsel, an unpaid appointed post, which is supposed to keep an eye
on all legal and policy matters that the committee embarks on. Reince earned this spot
by being Steele’s campaign manager. During the campaign, up to the vote in D.C., they
were inseparable. Indeed, they remained in firm allegiance during Steele’s tenure and
often, Preibus was dispatched to put out fires.
When Steele made several inane comments about Russ Limbaugh, the double-standard
he was held to because of his race or the war in Afghanistan, Preibus was put in
charge of damage control, often asking members to sign letters of support.
I received two calls from Reince asking for such support. There was no doubt about
his loyalty to Steele and his eagerness to show other members he was speaking for the
When the Executive Committee borrowed another $5 million in late fall, without
seeking approval from the Budget Committee, Members were informed the matter
was “approved by legal.” And when Steele announced the “Fire Pelosi Tour” a self-
indulgent waste of time and resources, Peibus was tossing “Fire Pelosi” hats to anyone
who would have them. As we know, the tour was a joke and RNC subsidized “Feel the
Love Tour” for Chairman Steele and his sycophant followers. Those precious funds
could have been the difference in several key races, where victory was painfully elusive.
Preibus enjoyed sharing his access with Steele and published photos on his Facebook
page showing him and Chairman Steele in many VIP settings, including private jets.
During this period of course, the RNC failed to meet its fundraising goals, failed
to reach out and meet with major donors or help state committees raise their own
And, being close to power didn’t inhibit Preibus’s law firm from boasting on its ability
to secure Obama Stimulus Funds for needy clients in Wisconsin. No one would deny
anyone’s right to making a living, but making a living off of Stimulus Funds while
Republican candidates are publicly opposing them across the country smacks of the
kind of inside-dealing the public has grown sick of and have rightfully denounced.
And then there is the matter of the Committee on Accommodations, the panel which is
preparing the 2012 National Convention in Tampa where Preibus has turned a blinding
eye to the detriment of our Party. Preibus allowed and has still not publicly
denounced the hiring of Steele hack Belinda Cook or asked that she and her
family be removed from their positions of trust and financial responsibility. Cook, who
has been a Steele confident for years, has also hired family members to assist her and
rented a posh waterside home, some 45 minutes from the Convention site. These actions
violate RNC nepotism rules. Yet, where was Reince Preibus, Attorney-at-Law during this
Only when it became clear he wanted to jump into the race against his former patron did
Preibus resigned from his position as General Counsel. But he still has been silent on the
Steele’s actions? Why? Is it because his fingerprints are on many of these inexplicable
actions? No one knows. And there is little secret that many of the contractors and
vendors who have done well under Michael Steele and standing with Reince Preibus in
his quest to run the RNC.
So, how will the direction and management of the RNC change under Preibus leadership
since many of the main characters responsible for this waste of two years are ready to
saddle up again with the main who says he will run a “a tight ship.”
To take the nautical reference, people might think of Preibus as the First Mate of the
Titanic, rather than John Paul Jones. But at least Titanic’s First Officer William
McMaster Murdoch tried to turn the mighty ship before it hit the iceberg in April,
1912. Murdoch also maintained order on the bridge during the evacuation, helped
passengers to their lifeboats and then went down with the ship.
These are the hard truths. Each Member is entitled to support who they believe is best
suited to lead our Party through a critical time. I am supporting Gentry Collins
because he comes to the job with experience, knowledge and credibility. He
handled his job under difficult circumstances and saw it through before opting to run
for it himself. Some have questioned his loyalty, but if anything, Gentry showed he was
true to the Members and the activists by sorting out conflicting information and unmet
commitments from Steele and his inner circle.
Chairman Preibus has done some good work in his state but his record of complicity
with Chairman Steele is irrefutable. Either he was part of the problem or clueless to it.
We have many other options to provide leadership, free and clear of the side deals,
nepotism and rank incompetence which have dominated our operation for the last two
But each Member should look clearly at the facts, the record and the motivation of each
candidate as we move forward.
We will dig out of this debt. We will be ready to tackle redistricting and prepare for the
2012 Election. But we cannot move forward with the same kind of vague promises and
double dealing. This will require diligence, integrity and hard work. Gentry Collins has
those qualities as do Saul Anuzis, Marie Cino or Anne Wagner.
But, each Member should be ready to join the winner and do the lifting that is required
so we can rescue this country from the Obama Administration.