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The Republican National Committee is investigating allegations that the head of the party’s national college campus operation sexually harassed female colleagues and misused party funds. Three women — Kathleen Kirst, Jennifer Gorski and Youmna Salameh — alleged the misconduct in affidavits obtained by The Associated Press. The women maintained that Scott Steward, chairman of the College Republican National Committee in Washington, D.C., made unwanted advances and regularly spoke in sexually graphic terms to and about female employees. They also claimed that Steward allegedly authorized the use of several thousand dollars in GOP funds to pay for his own and others’ personal expenses, such as cellular telephone bills, plane tickets and campaign mailings. Gorski was an office manager who was fired by Stewart last year. Kirst was an intern in 1999. Salameh worked at another RNC-affiliated organization next door to the college Republicans. Stewart, who is seeking another two-year term to the $27,500-a-year post, did not return four telephone calls requesting comment. The Republican National Committee, which provides the college Republicans with office space and much of its budget, was given the affidavits in January, said Jason Zanetti, the campus group’s Northeastern caucus chairman, who spoke on the women’s behalf. The affidavits were taken in mid-November to try to remove Stewart at a meeting of college Republicans that month in New Orleans, Zanetti said. But there were not enough votes to oust Stewart, so the women took their charges to the RNC. RNC spokesman Mark Miner said when party officials were given the affidavits, “we jumped on it immediately.” “Our legal department is looking at the situation and there should be a conclusion in the coming days,” he said. Zanetti said the women are confident the RNC will take appropriate action and do not plan a lawsuit. Elections for the college Republicans, which has 1,000 college campus chapters and 100,000 members dedicated to recruiting, registering and training students for GOP causes, are scheduled for July. The RNC contributes about $100,000 a year to college Republicans; a 1999 release on the CRNC Web site estimated its 1999-2000 budget would be about $350,000. Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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