The Republican post-election blame game escalated Tuesday when Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Thom Tillis, R-N.C., called for an audit of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) to determine how its resources were spent before failing to recapture the Senate, according to Politico.
During a fraught, three-hour meeting of the Senate Republican Conference, Blackburn told NRSC Chair Rick Scott, R-Fla., that it was important for senators to have an accounting of how the money was spent and greater insight into how and why key financial decisions were made, two people with knowledge of the discussion told the news outlet.
The meeting comes as internal strife threatens to consume a GOP still smarting from last week's election results. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Scott have publicly clashed, pointing fingers at each other for the disappointing outcome, and Scott launched a challenge to McConnell's leadership.
Tillis reportedly spoke in favor of the idea, saying a review of the NRSC's spending during the 2018 and 2020 election cycles would allow for a comparison to be made.
According to Politico, a potential audit this election cycle would not be the first time a Republican Party committee's finances were reviewed. The National Republican Congressional Committee was audited during the 2008 election as it weathered an accounting scandal.
NRSC spokesperson Chris Hartline disputed the idea that an audit was necessary, noting that the committee's regular filings with the Federal Election Commission provide essentially the same function.
"We get audited every month," Hartline told Politico. "It's called an FEC report."
He added that "every member of the caucus was kept in the loop on NRSC strategy and spending all cycle" and said the committee performs audits on itself annually.
As Tuesday's meeting continued, McConnell supporters and Scott supporters traded barbs on social media, with Scott adviser Curt Anderson tweeting out criticism of the McConnell-linked Senate Leadership Fund for not doing enough in the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff.
"Have they given up?" Anderson wrote.
Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law responded that the NRSC's contribution was barely being felt in the race.
"But don't worry little buddy — we're used to covering for you," McConnell's former chief of staff wrote.
According to its most recent FEC report, the NRSC had raised $234.6 million through Oct. 19, including $20 million in bank loans taken out in September and October.
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