Steele's RNC edged out by DNC in latest money chase

The latest fundraising numbers by the national party committees showed the Republican National Committee falling just short of the Democratic National Committee in total receipts for May.

The DNC collected $6,602,893, or about $146,000 more than the RNC's $6,456,892.

Republican finances became a focus of attention during the spring, when the RNC was embarrassed by the use of party funds at a West Hollywood topless joint. Chairman Michael Steele rolled several heads at national headquarters in Washington in response.

The latest figures confirm that both parties are laying out nearly as much as they are taking in. The Republicans had net operating expenses of $5,648,666.38, according to their Federal Election Commission filing. The Democrats spent even more in May: $6,175,229.27.

Democrats also were carrying more than $3 million in debt at the end of May, an increase from the prior month. The RNC reported that it owed about $760,000, mainly bills to pollsters, media firms and other vendors who were paid in June.

Democrats hold an edge in reported cash-on-hand, $14,491,048 to the GOP's $12,581,336.91. However, if debts are taken into account, the Republicans have the advantage, with a net of $11.82 million to the Dems' $11.46 million.

Both parties saw fundraising slump from April, when the Dems pulled in $10.4 million and the Republicans collected $6.86 million.

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