The Republican National Committee finished 2010 with $23 million in debt. Reince Priebus, the new chairman, says he's "focused like a laser" on rebuilding the GOP's national organization.
Priebus, who took the reins of the RNC less than a month ago is trying to get out ahead of the bad news.
Even before the committee released its year-end finance report Monday, Priebus announced the $23 million in red ink.
The debt is 50 percent higher than the committee's last report from mid-November.
The man Priebus ousted as chairman, Michael Steele, had spent much of his two-year term denying that the RNC was financial trouble.
Priebus now says the committee relied too much on high-cost, low-return direct mail.
He says the staff has been cut by one third. And big donor giving has started to come back from 10-year lows.
Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported:
The Democratic National Committee was about $15 million in debt in early December. The DNC's latest financial report was not available late Monday.