February 8th, 2009
05:09 PM ET
12 years ago

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

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/02/08/art.steelelogo0208.gi.jpg caption="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.”

Filed under: Extra • Michael Steele
soundoff (174 Responses)
  1. Jodie

    Same old, same old as to the Republican party. They are a disgrace!!

    February 8, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  2. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Wow! I thought the Republicans were above all this – politically pure as the driven snow! Abramoff – Duke Cunningham – Tom "the Hammer" Delay ... and so on and so one ... Ted Stephens ...??

    Steele say he would continue Republican policies and values: looks like he meant it. Notice the same ol' GOP excuse of the expose' being "politically motivated"

    February 8, 2009 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  3. jcarlos

    And ladies and gentleman, here is the new face of the Republican Party.

    February 8, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. reggie

    CNN, give it up. This weak story has no legs. You will not be able to bring down the new RNC chairman this way.

    February 8, 2009 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  5. Susan

    Scary......very, very scary! McCain, Palin, Joe the Plumber, now Steele.....who's next?

    February 8, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  6. sharon

    and why did the aide wait 2-3 yrs to say something? it should be a crime to wait to report a potential crime.

    February 8, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  7. Dayahka

    A little nepotism, eh? But, hey, what's a little payment here and there between family? Is this any worse than a little payoff between a Republican Secretary of the Treasury and his old Wall Street firm, to keep it from insolvency? Isn't this just business as usual for Republicans?

    February 8, 2009 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. Josh

    How does it fell to be accused of something you didn't do Mike?
    I am however not convinced about your innocence. We are going to wait for the "Right Wing Media" Fix News to report on this. I bet Ya, they won't. They will use the talking point of the week. The one already circulated to Lindruggie and Hannifull, oh, and psyco Levine.

    My friend you are no Barrack Obama, you are just being used . Just ask Rep. Watts from Oklahoma. You will feel so unwelcome.
    By the way was this an affirmative action move by the RNC?
    Tell me Mike.
    The Repubs cannot match what the Dems have done for African American, Women and Hespanics – Just look at the amount of these three groups elected as Democrats all over the country.
    Come join us Mike, after all the Dems did not take the Black vote for granted as the Repubs wanted us to believe. Look at our BIG PRICE/REWARD mike.

    Democrat for Life "Brother"?

    February 8, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. C Spurgeon

    Oh My just another crooked politician. He should fit right in. Now lets audit hisn taxes.

    February 8, 2009 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Gerry in Va. for Obama.

    It seems a REPUBLICAN IS A REPUBLICAN no matter what.. They all claim they do nothing wrong ever, what so ever, nothing!!!! They all belong to the same crowd.. What makes anyone think Mr Steele is any different then the rest of the Republicans just because he is African American and has been elected to run the RNC. We all know that IF President Obama hadn't been elected, the RNC wouldn't have given Mr Steele the time of day much less this lofty position in the Republican party.

    February 8, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. irishny

    So a convicted felons word is taken as gospel now?
    I wonder how many people here would be calling for his resignation is he was a democrat?

    Did it even occur to you that he was vetted and that this incident was perfectly above board??

    February 8, 2009 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  12. Cynthia

    I smell a RAT!

    February 8, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    First the Democrats say Fabian can't be believed when he is convicted of Fraud last year during campaigns (do a search of any news website). Now when he slings lies just to drag Republicans down, the Democrats think this guy is credible? You Democrats are playing right into the hands of a felon – oh wait, that's the status quo for you.

    February 8, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  14. Dave

    Did he pay his taxes, did Obama's team vet him? lol

    And "Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO"you are a what is wrong with people in this country! Can't get along? just call him a name...

    February 8, 2009 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. UPenn Student

    Seriously... is anyone surprised.

    February 8, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. Zion

    Ernie, keep in mind that in politics the only clean noses are the ones that have not been there for a long time. That's why Obama was able to rise so quickly because he had not been there long.

    February 8, 2009 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  17. 2010

    The only reason Michael Steele was elected by the RNC was because we now have a Black President of the U.S. and the RNC wanted to make it look like it has come full circle and are accepting of Black people.

    It was only a matter of time before someone would have started throwing mud at Steele because of his election as RNC Chairman.

    February 8, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. ken-Indiana

    Swiftboating Obama even after being the President? Yes!

    February 8, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. John Stevens

    Don't the republicans realize that they lost the election and their views are obsolete and irrelevant. And the last thing we need is more of their kind of leadership as experienced in the last 8 years. Time to cooperate and get with the program. speaking of things we don't need, lets dump Dobbs. what a negative personality that is! John

    February 8, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. jason, tx

    another repug

    February 8, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  21. Wolf-Woman Palin Charlotte, NC

    We need a Senate hearing on this. I bet he hasn't paid his taxes either.

    February 8, 2009 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. Steve (the real one)

    Vietnam COMBAT Vet, OHIO February 8th, 2009 7:16 pm ET
    "UNCLE TOM" Steele!! Just another low life republican!!!
    Why is he an uncle tom? Is it because he does not believe in the same politics as you do? Ignorant remark! You want to just bow down at the alter? Feel free! His conservative voice (as well as mine) is no less important than your liberal voice!

    February 8, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. Ben

    Can he ask Republicans why Katrina victims were not rescued?

    February 8, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. dzung,tx.

    According to republican,only democrat cheat and steal,what do they say now!!!

    February 8, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. Marie

    YEAH YEAH YEAH do we need to play a violin as he try to lie his way out of this.What does the republicans do throw dirt at the democrats when the can't even clean their own house.Steele thinks he is a saint because he was the chosen one to be chairman of the RNC or whatever you want to call it...and Shelby this man is a joke he has major car manufacturing plants in Alabama and none of them are domestic made or are unionized and he's thinking about the american people?What about the billions of dollars and still spending for Iraq but he has the audacity to oppose the stimulus.Repblicans want to see Obama fail for the mere fact because if he don't fail the american people will never again instill their faith that they never should have or should I say had no choice for the past eight years

    February 8, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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