Republican Leadership Council

Republican Leadership Council

The Republican Leadership Council (RLC or RLC-PAC), founded in 1993 as the Committee for Responsible Government, is a United States political advocacy group and political action committee that promotes Republican candidates who espouse a platform that the organization characterizes as "fiscally conservative, socially inclusive." Issues championed by the RLC include small government, lower taxes, balanced budgets, environmental conservation and school vouchers.

The organization is chaired by former Missouri Senator John Danforth and former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman and tends to be critical of what it considers to be the disproportionate role of conservative Christians in the Republican Party[1].



The Committee for Responsible Government (CRG) was founded by a group of moderate Republicans in 1992 as a response to the 1992 Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas where Pat Buchanan, an unsuccessful challenger to incumbent President George H.W. Bush, gave a controversial address which has become known as the "culture war" speech.

Founding members of the CRG included financier Lewis M. Eisenberg, New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Representative Susan Molinari (NY-14), Representative Richard A. Zimmer (NJ-12), Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld, and Connecticut Governor John G. Rowland. The organization departed notably from the Republican Party platform by including a pro-choice position on abortion in its "guiding principles."

In 1997, the organization was renamed the Republican Leadership Council in a nod to its Democratic counterpart, the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. The RLC dropped its embattled stance on abortion in favor of a neutral affirmation of the importance of "protecting individual rights" and "promoting strong families." Governor John Engler of Michigan and Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona, Republicans who favored a pro-life position, were recruited to model a more inclusive position on the issue of abortion. Financier Henry Kravis and John A. Moran, former Kansas Senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole's 1996 campaign finance chairman, were named as the organization's co-chairs.

In the Republican Party primary of California's 2002 gubernatorial election, the RLC endorsed Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan over Bill Simon, sponsoring attack ads blaming Simon for the 1993 failure of Western Federal Savings and Loan. RLC board members Senators Jon Kyl and Frank Murkowski condemned the ads and issued statements distancing themselves from the RLC.[1]

The RLC was inactive for several years after 2003, but was revived after the 2006 midterm elections by Whitman, former Missouri Senator John Danforth and former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele. Whitman said that the Republicans' loss of control of Congress signaled a need for the party to return to its "fiscally conservative roots" and to be "less judgmental." In March 2007, Whitman's political action committee, "It's My Party, Too" (IMP-PAC), was merged into RLC-PAC.

In 2008 Michael Steele left the RLC, of which he was a founding member, citing disagreements over endorsing primary candidates. Some contend that his departure was an effort to boost his chances of becoming the RNC chair. He contends he withdrew from the group in early 2008, while the RLC listed him as a member until his campaign for chair of the GOP began in December 2008.[2] [3]

Board members

Former members

  • Michael Steele (former RNC chair and original cofounder of RLC; left in 2008 over the endorsement of candidates in primaries)
  • Frank Murkowski (former Alaska senator and governor; left over attack ads[vague])
  • Jon Kyl (current Arizona senator; left over attack ads[vague])


  1. ^ Calderwood, Keri-Ann (March 18, 2002), "Kyl, Murkowski may quit Republican Leadership council", Human Events, [dead link]
  2. ^ Ham, Mary Katharine (November 20, 2008). "Michael Steele: I Left Moderate Republican Group This Spring". The Weekly Standard: The Blog. The Weekly Standard. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 
  3. ^ Brody, David (November 19, 2008). "Michael Steele Defended on Pro-Life Issue". CBN News: The Brody File. Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved January 16, 2009. 

External links

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