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“I was aware that he had said Bickhart was going to be terminated sometime in the future,” Mr. Pullen said.

Doug Heye, RNC communications director, said claims of any move by Mr. Steele to dismiss Mr. Bickhart were mere “hearsay.”

But the RNC’s top donors may force a move.

Mr. Pullen said he met with the “every one of the seven or eight major donors who showed up here” and he said all of them mentioned the $2,000 Los Angeles sex-club expenditure reimbursement.

Mr. Heye also denied there was any snubbing of Mr. Steele, telling The Times that “we had donors from our Majority Fund, President’s Club, Chairman’s Advisory Board, and Team 100 present in New Orleans and at our events.

“By example, more than 50 major donors attended our Saturday breakfast with Gov. Perry, Rep. [Bill] Cassidy and Sen. [Rick] Santorum. The RNC raised more than $400,000 from events surrounding the SRLC,” he said.

There is also a dispute brewing within the RNC, growing out of the topless-club spending, over whether Mr. Bickhart has given RNC employees permission to sign committee checks with his name.

According to Mr. Pullen, the RNC check for nearly $2,000 was signed with Mr. Bickhart’s name, but actually had been “forged” with his permission by an RNC employee. The check actually was made out not to the since-fired employee, but to her friend who picked up the entertainment tab at the topless club and was not even an RNC employee.

Mr. Pullen, the RNC treasurer, told The Times that while Mr. Bickhart has denied giving any employee permission to sign reimbursement requests with his name, he intends himself to get to the bottom of the question.

Mr. Pullen said that when he returns to Washington this week he will ask RNC employees, one by one, whether Mr. Bickhart had even given specific or blanket permission to sign his name and whether each employee had ever signed Mr. Bickhart’s name to a reimbursement request or check.

When asked by The Times to comment on the check-signing issue, Mr. Heye did not specifically deny it, but did “recommend caution here.”

“Forgery is a serious accusation, one with potential legal implications (including libel),” he said.

Mr. Pullen also told The Times that Mr. Bickhart shows up at RNC headquarters only two or three days a week, exercises little or no financial control and gets paid “well over” a half-million dollars, more than twice the $223,500 in salary Mr. Steele receives as chairman.

Both men get unlimited travel and other expenses, but Mr. Bickhart was running up expense account reimbursements so over the top that the RNC yanked Mr. Bickhart’s American Express card.

But Mr. Heye denied that claim, saying “no one at the RNC has unlimited expenses, nor has a card been yanked.”

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