February 9th, 2009
07:07 AM ET
6 years ago

Payments to sister's company were 'legitimate,' Steele says

RNC chairman Michael Steele responded Sunday to a recent Washington Post report.
RNC chairman Michael Steele responded Sunday to a recent Washington Post report.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – New Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele said Sunday that payments to his sister’s company by his 2006 Senate campaign were proper.

Steele’s former finance chairman alleged in documents provided to federal prosecutors that Steele arranged for his Senate campaign to pay tens of thousands of dollars to a company owned by his sister, according to a report by the Washington Post published Saturday.

Alan B. Fabian, the former Steele aide, alleged that the company never performed any services for the campaign in exchange for the money and the Post reported that the company was defunct at the time the payment was made.

“It was a legitimate reimbursement of expenses, Steele told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Sunday. “If my sister had not been reimbursed, I and she would have been in violation of McCain-Feingold finance law,” Steele added.

“Those allegations were leveled by a convicted felon who was trying to get a reduced sentence on his conviction,” Steele said of Fabian.

Steele told Stephanopoulos that the payment was made to reimburse his sister’s company at a time when her lawyers were in the process of dissolving the company.

The Post also reported that Fabian made other allegations of questionable transactions involving Steele’s campaign funds in an effort to obtain leniency in plea negotiations on unrelated fraud charges. Fabian was sentenced to 9 years in prison.

Steele denied any wrongdoing on ABC’s “This Week.”

“It’s all false,” Steele said Sunday.

As the newly elected RNC chairman, raising millions of dollars for the national party will be one of Steele’s primary responsibilities.

“I want to clear my good name,” Steele said, adding that he will provide information to the FBI about Fabian’s allegations. “This is not the way I intend to run the RNC with this over my head. We’re going to dispense with it immediately.”


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