Steele Slammed for $20K Speaking Fees

Predecessor in RNC post says his job 'is to give speeches'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2009 7:44 AM CST
Republican national committee chairman Michael Steele speaks at the annual Indiana GOP state dinner in Indianapolis, Wednesday, July 8, 2009.   (AP Photo/Tom Strickland)

(Newser) – Michael Steele’s been lining his own pockets with speaking fees of up to $20,000, capitalizing on his RNC chairmanship in a way past chairmen haven’t—and those past chairmen don’t approve. “Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches,” Regan-era RNC chair Frank Fahrenkopf tells the Washington Times. “The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That’s what the national party pays him for.”

The committee pays Steele $223,500, and it’s a full-time job says, another former RNC chair. “You can work 24/7 and not get everything done, so taking time out to speak for the benefit of one's own bank account is not appropriate,” he said. But an RNC spokesman says the controversy is “silly,” because Steele “has been giving inspirational speeches based on his personal story long before he was elected RNC chairman.”

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