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Steele Keeps Everyone Guessing – RNC Still in Debt

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Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

Washington - The Republican National Committee sent a letter to the Federal Election Committee Thursday, responding to its "Request for Additional Information" regarding an amended filing by the RNC in October, revealing $4 million of previously undisclosed debt.

"The additional debts listed... were discovered during a self-initiated internal review process, which was undertaken in connection with the arrival of a new Chief of Staff and Finance Director," writes Boyd Rutherford of the RNC. "These efforts have also resulted in new processes to prevent similar issues from arising in the future..."

The total outstanding debt at the RNC is a matter of no small debate and is a microcosm of the problems that face the RNC and its chairman Michael Steele. RNC officials close to Steele say the total debt is now at $15 million.

However the RNC Treasurer, Randy Pullen tells Fox News that number does not reflect another $5.5 million in accounts payable, and that brings the total debt north of $20 million. It may be worth noting that inside RNC circles, Pullen - an Arizona committeeman and Washington outsider -- is not known as a friend of Steele's.

"They've succeeded in turning another day where we should have been attacking Democrats into a day where we're dealing with this backbiting stuff," said one RNC insider close to Steele.

The news came as rumors swirled all day about whether or not Steele will run for re-election. Republicans were buzzing much of Wednesday night into Thursday morning about an imminent and major announcement from him. Steele insiders and enemies alike seemed to be equally clueless as to the substance of Steele's next move; in the end he stayed silent, making no announcement, public or otherwise.

While Steele intentions remain ambiguous at best, others have been more open. Among those officially in the race are Saul Anuzis, a committee member from Michigan, who ran and lost to Steele in 2009 and Reince Priebus of Wisconsin, a former member of Steele's inner circle, along with former Luxembourg Ambassador Anne Wagner

Former RNC Political Director under Steele Gentry Collins and Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official are both flirting with a run.

As far as handicapping the field, one influential RNC member told Fox News, "A month and a half ago everyone kind of just assumed Steele would probably be re-elected. The members are just getting their arms around the fact that it may no longer be the case... This has to cook a little bit longer."

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