Politico‘s Ben Smith has one of those “Wow, I can’t believe this” scoops.
The only problem is that I actually can believe it. I just don’t want to.
Smith has just written about and produced a copy of an RNC fundraising document and powerpoint set (pdf) that denigrates RNC donors — suggesting that the way to move them is by through fear, pugnacious nationalism, personal ego, and tchochkes.
The caricatures of various classifications of RNC donors in the document that Smith was trying to get reaction to have the RNC itself now running scared.
According to Smith, the RNC has been calling donors to beware inquiries from an intrepid reporter.
The RNC reacted with alarm to a question about it Thursday, emailing
major donors to warn them of a reporter’s question, and distancing
Steele from its contents.
“The document was used for a fundraising presentation Chairman Steele
did not attend, nor had he seen the document,” RNC Communications
Director Doug Heye said in an email. “Fundraising documents are often
“Obviously, the Chairman disagrees with the language and finds the use
of such imagery to be unacceptable. It will not be used by the
Republican National Committee – in any capacity – in the future,” Heye
The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides
headed “RNC Marketing 101.” The presentation divides fundraising into
two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and
lays out the details of how to approach each group.
The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described
under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as
“fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;”
Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”
Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”
The slide also allows that donors may have more honorable motives,
including “Patriotic Duty.”
A major Republican donor described the state of the RNC’s relationship
with major donors as “disastrous,” with veteran givers beginning to
abandon the committee, which is becoming increasingly reliant on small
Good old-fashioned reporting by Politico.
Unbelievable behavior by the Republican National Committee’s finance team.
— Steve Clemons