The newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, former Maryland Lt. Governor Michael Steele, has a lot of explaining to do regarding charges he misappropriated funds from his 2006 Senate campaign. According to Alan Fabian, the former finance chairman for Steele's unsuccessful Senate bid, Steele knowingly and fraudulently funneled approximately $40,000 to his sister's defunct catering and web services.
Fabian is also alleging that Steele, the first African American ever elected to head either major national political party in this country, paid a law firm $75,000 from his state campaign to do some work that was never performed.
But during a recent appearance on ABC's "This Week," Mr. Steele pushed back hard on these claims by Fabian, by challenging anyone who would dare believe the word of a "convicted felon who is trying to get a reduced sentence." Steele went on to say:
"Those allegations were leveled by a convicted felon who was trying to get a reduced sentence on his conviction. The reality of it is that the US attorney, as well as the judge, looked at what he presented and it did not apply. He said there was no credibility to it. The Washington Post ought to be ashamed of itself for getting out in front of something without all of the facts."
Steele, who has advocated the need for higher ethical standards in Washington, DC politics, recently cleaned house at the RNC... getting rid of 100 staffers in his quest to prove he will bring a new vision to the Committee starting with a new crop of workers. With his credibility now being challenged, Steele may need to do more that discredit Fabian the messenger, and provide undeniable proof to the media relative to the law firm billing charges and also show that his sister did... or did not have a catering service that he employed and paid money to during that time. This will help clean up his name. Short of that, a cloud of suspicion will remain over him until this is resolved.