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Priebus Continues Bold Moves at RNC, Slashes One-Third of Employees

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RNC Chairman Reince Priebus (AP File Photo)

New RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has made erasing the committee's $23 million in debt his top priority, and on Tuesday he took some drastic measures to that end. Priebus cut 30 staff positions during an action-filled day at the RNC headquarters.

Fox News has acquired a letter distributed inside the RNC in which Priebus explains the cuts.

"I made the difficult but necessary determination to reduce headcount through the elimination or suspension of nearly thirty positions across all the divisions in the building," Priebus writes. "Today, over twenty staffers were informed that their positions were being affected and that their employment with the RNC would therefore be discontinued as of February 1st. The remaining positions eliminated today are currently vacant and will remain so."

A source close to the transition tells Fox News Priebus also held a four-hour meeting with nearly 30 high level GOP fundraisers at the RNC Tuesday. A group of seven former RNC Chairmen committed to help the committee's fundraising efforts. Both meetings were seen as a stark contrast to former Chairman Michael Steele's administration which had lost many high dollar GOP donors over the past two years.

People familiar with the meeting tell Fox News that transition head Ed Gillespie pointed out inefficiencies in the committee and that Priebus told everyone that all contracts and personnel would be reexamined. Gillespie has taken a pivotal role in re-shaping the RNC, including being directly involved in the deliberations over key hires that will happen over the coming weeks.

Among the former RNC Chairmen in attendance who committed to help Priebus raise money were former Senators Bob Dole and Bill Brock, Governors Jim Gilmore and Marc Racicot and Rich Bond, Clayton Yeutter and Mike Duncan.Priebus has said that the RNC needs to raise about $450 million in order to compete with President Obama during the 2012 election cycle.

The full letter:

Dear RNC Employees,

As you well know, the 2010 election was historic for our party and our nation. The RNC and each of you individually played a role in making that happen, and I want to thank you for your contributions.

As we head into a presidential election cycle, we face a substantial financial shortfall. I am committed to erasing this debt and putting the RNC in the strongest possible financial position heading into 2012. That's why I have spent most of my time since my election as chairman raising money.

It's also why we need to take dramatic steps to reduce costs. In consultation with the transition team, I made the difficult but necessary determination to reduce headcount through the elimination or suspension of nearly thirty positions across all the divisions in the building. Today, over twenty staffers were informed that their positions were being affected and that their employment with the RNC would therefore be discontinued as of February 1st. The remaining positions eliminated today are currently vacant and will remain so.

Importantly, my decision to discontinue the employment of these staffers has nothing to do with performance. I appreciate the good and hard work they have done for the RNC. It is simply due to the nature of politics and of the RNC's current financial situation that we need to undergo this restructuring. As new senior staff is hired in the months ahead and as we gear up for the 2012 elections, we will eventually rebuild to the level necessary to expand on our electoral gains of last November and to win the White House in 2012.

Thank you for everything you have done and will do for our party and our country.