The powerpoint presentation, leaked to Politico on Wednesday, described high-level Republican donors as "ego-driven" and claimed they could be enticed with "tchochkes." The document included a slide - titled "The Evil Empire" - with cartoonish images depicting President Obama as the Joker, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille and Harry Reid as Scooby Doo. Steele called the pictures "unfortunate."
"Those are images that were pulled off the internet, they've been out in the public domain for a while, and you know, a staffer was putting together a presentation for a small group of about nine or ten folks and thought that they would intersperse the presentation with humorous shots," Steele explained in an appearance on Fox News. "They are inappropriate shots."
Steele would not say who was responsible for the document, saying only that he has asked RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart "to get to the bottom of it." Bickhart is reportedly the staffer who made the fundraising presentation to GOP donors in Boca Grande, Florida last month.
Pressed on whether someone at the committee would be disciplined or fired over the matter, Steele said he is letting "the appropriate personnel process and procedures take place within the organization."
"Clearly it's not something that I would tolerate and certainly would not want presented to me, and we're dealing with it administratively," he said.
Doug Heye, the RNC communications director, told CNN there are no plans for either Bickhart or RNC Finance Chairman Peter Terpeluk to leave the committee as a result of the controversy.
"It is absolutely not true," Heye said in an interview with CNN. Heye added that "the chairman has addressed this internally and has ensured moving forward this will not happen again."
As for what actions are being taken by the chairman, Heye would not say. "We do not discuss anything that happens internally at the Republican National Committee as a matter of policy," he said.
Steele was asked in the Fox interview about the presentation's negative portrayal of Republican donors, to which he responded cryptically: "I was told that that is typical what people think about our donors, or think about donors generally." But, he added, "That is not the case for our donors. Our donors are compassionate, concerned, activists out there who support a party that they believe in."