Michael Steele sure knows how to conduct research for his party.

In an incredible, ballsy maneuver, given his effectiveness as the lackey head of the RNC, Steele actually tried to convince his masters colleagues that he needed a private jet to set up his DJ MixMaster set conduct business.

“I know that … regular ongoing use of planes was something that was looked at,” says one person with direct knowledge. “I can’t speak to how serious those inquiries were.” Both sources say Steele considered purchasing a plane outright, or buying fractional ownership in one, through a company such as NetJets.

Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a “plan” to buy a plane. “I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed.”

While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.

However, it was this part of The Daily Caller story that’s jaw-drop worthy. It’s clear why Michael Steele is such a brilliant strategist — he spends the RNC’s time and money on in-depth research on family values issues that’s sure to take the Democrats down.

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding