"Having seen the process from inside the FEC for many years, it's pretty apparent that a lot of political party operations do not build in strong financial controls," Thomas said. "Part of that is they get new people at the head of the party every couple years. They want to bring in their own people and reinvent the wheel. You end up with a lot less continuity in terms of built in internal controls. That probably feeds much of what's going on."
Heye said he believes the problems have largely been resolved, and have in no way hampered Republican fundraising efforts, or harmed the party's ability to gather enough money to compete. Under Steele, the RNC has actually raised more than the DNC during the 2010 cycle, according to figures compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. (The RNC has less cash on hand because it has spent more than the DNC also during this period.)
"We have remained at parity, out raising them in nine separate months since Chairman Steele has taken over, and we've done that without the benefit of the president the house or the senate," Heye said.
Whether that can continue without being hampered by the latest string of problems, though, is unclear. Thomas said one or two cycles of bad press about money management can be "pretty devastating to their ability to excite big donors."