SPRINGFIELD -- The head of the Illinois GOP is standing behind Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, despite a high-profile dust-up that has cost two top party officials their positions.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady acknowledged Wednesday that the use of $2,000 in national party funds at a sex-themed nightclub in California has caused anger and embarrassment.

But, Brady said Steele's overall performance outweighs the recent problems.

"If you take a step back and look at the big picture, we won Virginia, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Overall, that's really all that matters. Raising money and winning elections."

"Mistakes were made, no doubt," Brady added. "Let's not sugarcoat it. We can't have this stuff happen anymore. We know that. He knows that."

On Monday, Brady is heading to Washington, D.C., for a meeting of the RNC's budget committee, of which he is a member. At that session, he said party officers plan to address how an aide was able to authorize the spending of the money on the Hollywood nightclub event, which was designed to attract younger donors to the party.

"There will be changes made to the internal controls, just like any responsible company would do in this situation," Brady said. "The question is 'How did it slip through the cracks?' We need to put some putty in those cracks, if we can."

Brady said he believes Steele remains popular with most Republicans and the problems that have surfaced in recent weeks don't seem to be making a dent in fundraising efforts with six months to go before the November election.

"I think this will eventually go away," Brady said. "I'm not concerned at all."

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