March 31st, 2010
10:41 AM ET

Santorum: 'Absence of leadership at the RNC'

Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who is considering a bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, said Tuesday he is "disgusted" with the Republican National Committee for paying for an evening at a racy Hollywood nightclub.

Speaking to a local Republican group in Council Bluffs, Iowa - his second appearance in the Hawkeye State this month - Santorum chided RNC Chairman Michael Steele and suggested that there is an "absence of leadership at the RNC".

"There is no excuse for people's contributions to the RNC to go to pay for this behavior," Santorum said, according to The Iowa Republican. "Frankly, I'm disgusted by it."

The RNC has since condemned the expenditure, fired the staffer responsible and promised that the money will be returned.

Santorum nevertheless criticized Steele for letting the controversial expense slip through the cracks in the first place.

"As a leader, you set the tone for your organization," he said. "If somebody who worked for my organization did something like this, they would be out of a job. It's not just that this happened; it's that someone saw this reimbursement and then approved of it.

"Chairman Steele might not have had personal knowledge about this sort of activity, but if that's the case, there is an absence of leadership at the RNC," Santorum added.

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