Steele’s charter

Twenty days after Michael Steele won his bid for Republican National Committee chairman, he spent almost $20,000 on a chartered flight from Boise, Idaho, to Palm Beach, Fla.

This appears in sync with his spending at the time — when he made headlines for redecorating his office and buying gym equipment.

This was money, insiders say, that he was spending but not money that he raised. Steele chartered a flight in February under then-RNC Financial Director Tim Crawford’s name for $18,702.90 for about five hours. (That’s about $3,700 an hour.)

A quick search of airline prices shows that round-trip flights from Boise to Palm Beach cost anywhere from $507 to the extreme of $3,540, which is still a savings of roughly $15,163.

It appears that Steele was leaving an Idaho state party event for a wintertime event in Florida for major Republican donors. There wasn’t time for commercial flights, which he tries to take as much as he can; and he only charters when there’s a scheduling conflict, the RNC says.

And insiders do say that there was no way for him to get him from Boise to Palm Beach except on a chartered flight, explaining that other flights had three or four stops and proved unable to get Steele where he needed to be on time. RNC spokesman Katie Wright said, “The RNC makes every effort to fly commercially, except for those few times when commercial flight times do not fit into the schedule. Like many other national figures, when commercial flights are not an option, we have to look at alternative options.” As for Crawford, eight days later, he abruptly resigned and is now the treasurer for SarahPAC, Sarah Palin’s PAC.

However, as another GOP-er sniffs, “Expenses like that would explain why the DNC has out-banked the RNC by nearly $7 million since Steele took office.”

However, the RNC points out that they have a $15M advantage over the DNC due to their cash on hand which also brings to light the DNC’s nearly $5M in debt.

Bipartisan’ donut

House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Edolphus “Ed” Towns (D-N.Y.) got a nice birthday celebration during the SIGTARP hearing Tuesday. Ranking member Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) — proving some sort of bipartisanship — delivered a celebratory Dunkin’ Donut with a candle in it to the chairman, as well as one to Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), who was also celebrating his birthday. 

Funny man

Sean O’Brien is back with his one-man comedy show, McSwiggin’s Pub.

O’Brien, the COS to Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), is a stand-up comedian on the side.

“The material changes with every show as current events move along, but it’s mainly a show about the people I’ve met during my five years on the

Hill working for Rahm Emanuel, Heath Shuler and Mike Quigley,” O’Brien says.

Sample joke: “[Walter] Cronkite actually wrote his stuff and spent time figuring out what he was going to say. He wouldn’t be able to do that today. They’d make him spend his time doing all that new-media crap. I mean, imagine Cronkite with Twitter: ‘Man on Moon. OMG.’ ‘Nixon Resigns. LMAO.’”

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