WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has agreed to put in place financial oversight controls that will give the treasurer more influence over how money is being spent.
Backers of the new provisions said the new controls are not intended to usurp Steele’s power, but to ensure that the membership has a say in how the organization is running. The measures are temporary until the full committee meets in July to debate a permanent financial plan.
For now, the RNC will reinstate previous financial restrictions, including approval of the treasurer for contracts that go beyond Steele’s term, contracts that exceed $100,000, and the green light to do some borrowing, former RNC General Counsel David Norcross said in an interview with CNN. Norcross was involved in pushing for the changes.
Also, Steele has agreed to keep on retainer a former RNC chief counsel and former financial official Jay Banning so they can offer their expertise on how to deal with unexpected situations. The RNC will also move towards creating a new chief financial officer position who would report not only to Steele but also to the committee’s treasurer and the executive committee, several people involved in the situation told CNN.
"I don't think it is a power grab," Norcross said. "None of this was meant as a slight to Steele."
Several of the people involved said they just wanted to make sure Treasurer Randy Pullen had the power and information he needed since he is legally liable if there are problems with the RNC's financial reports.
RNC officials dismissed the importance of the changes saying most of them had previously been put in place.
These moves come as Steele has been criticized by some RNC members and outsiders for his performance since being elected chairman in a hotly contested race to lead the committee.
"No one thinks he is completely damaged... (but is) somewhat damaged," said one long-time RNC member, who agreed to speak candidly to CNN on the condition of anonymity.
Some of those unhappy with the message the party is presenting were able to force a special RNC meeting later this month where it will vote on a resolution to label Democrats "Socialists," an effort Steele has raised questions about.
The Washington Times first reported this story.