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. george in cali

    saw this one coming

    February 8, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Independant Thinker

    Wow, the pure HATRED from the LEFT.

    No surprise to me.

    February 8, 2009 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. hdrider69

    Gee, I'm sure this is not another Republican scandal lurking in the shadows. We've never had Republican scandals before, right?

    February 8, 2009 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. MIchael B

    This has a scandal rating of at best a 1/10

    February 8, 2009 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  5. Steve in Las Vegas,NV

    This sure looks fishy on the face of it... Where was the vetting process in any of this. And the word of a convicted felon doesn't carry much weight.....Just trying to lighten his load(sentence)

    This just looks wrong in so many ways and so many levels. But looks are not proof of wrongdoing

    Let the courts decide this one. But remember everyone is presumed innocent until proved guilty in a court of law...Even The man of Steel, but sounds another Repub bag of excuses. They need to clean up their own messes

    I'm not a Repub trying to defend anybody, That's what the courts take care of.

    February 8, 2009 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. DrMan

    "Quick, we need something to distract from the socialist "stimulus" program losing favor with the public". "All we've got is this nothing story about the new head of the RNC from back in 2006". "You're right, it's nothing, but we'll run it and see what happens".

    February 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  7. Cynthia

    Nothing but liberal haters here again I see. they like to ignore facts!

    February 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Shelby game

    The shoe polish is wearing off this guy.

    February 8, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. DNC

    Look, another potential Obama cabinet member!

    February 8, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    Josh February 8th, 2009 7:24 pm ET
    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.
    Nice try Josh! Your history is dead wrong. I will submit that republicans have recently failed to adhere to their principles and failed to protect taxpayers. But, the overall history of the republicans has been far more kinder to minorities!
    google the civil rights act of 1964 and tell me who supported it and attempted to shoot it down! You may be surprised! The pary of Lincoln has failed to live up to it's principles lately! The republicans have lot of rebuilding to do!

    February 8, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. Carl Justus

    When a republican gets caught giving money to unauthorizes people it is always good or necessary business, but if a democrat pays his bills he is bribing someone.
    Do you remember Cunningham or Stevens who accepted money or to get a home remodeled, they were ligitimate expenses, ask either one of them.
    They are not in a position to accept any more for a while.

    February 8, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. JJ Young

    His "finance man" is saying this?!?!? Creepy! Michael Steele is a sell-out. It now appears he is prone to bad judgements and telling half-truths. He is being used...think job security, Mike....deny, deny,deny!

    February 8, 2009 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. AADem

    Guess Steele had to help out his sister who was once married to boxer,
    Mike Tyson. She must have parted with zilch.

    Did you happen to see Steele guesting on Stephenopolus' show this morning? He was so rude to his host, telling George to ..."let me talk, let me talk." when George, tried to get in a word.

    As usual, just like the rest of the Repubs, very unprofessional.

    February 8, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. catmom

    The bottom line is in order to run for office you have to have money, lots of money. When that type of money is in play, thing don't always go the right way. If you go through both Republicans and Democrats you will probably find a whole lot of them that have issues. If you look at the general public you will find the same thing. So, everyone needs to stop being so righteous. Mr. Steele that means you as well. Can't we all just get along.

    February 8, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Perusing-through


    1.) – First James Dobson and "Focus on the Family" refuse to back John McCain during Republican Primaries,
    2.) – But when it becomes apparent Senator Obama would win the Democratic nomination, suddenly Christian-Evangelicals begin to back GOP nominee McCain.
    3.) – Then the religious-right threatened boycott of RNC if McCain select Tom Ridge, Mitt Romney, or Joe Lieberman as VP. So McCain selects Dobson's choice Sarah Palin.
    4.) – When the wheels begin to fall off McCain's campaign (due in part Palin), the GOP queued up for a political circular fire to take each other out.
    5.) – Immediately after Obama wins, GOP begin to point fingers for their failures while campaigning for 2012, with Sarah Palin leading the way.
    6.) – Finally, after a nasty skunk-spitting battle between candidates for RNC Chairmanship, GOP battles recommence to take out Michael Steele, their only hope to "grow" the Republican Party.

    The GOP is pathetic and may sink to uselessness by 2012.

    February 8, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Democrat in Maryland

    Michael Steele has allowed himself to be used as an African American man to head the RNC. He knows he does not have the intelligence it takes but because he is so greedy for attention and power he'd do anything.

    He is deceptive and a crook. Oh well, I guess he may just fit right in with Republican politics.

    So pitful...

    February 8, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Bud Burgoon-Clark

    Just another Rethuglicriminal ... no news here ...

    February 8, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. AADem

    Convicted felon! Was under the impression it was his campaign manager. Oh, I get it...he WAS a convicted felon .

    February 8, 2009 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. dmott

    Wow! Steele has spent about what? 1 week as head of the RNC and he already has exposed his hatred for Dems and now is seeing some skeletons in the closet exposed. Seems sort of like the Reps appointment of Queen Palin doesn't it?

    February 8, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  20. Bill

    It all SOUNDS perfectly legitimate. And wild monkeys might fly out of my a...............

    February 8, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  21. Joe Casabona

    John Stevens- Do you have any idea what the article is about? Or did you just see something about the GOP and decide this was a good forum to bash Republicans?

    February 8, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  22. Don in Albuquerque

    The RNC reminds me lately of a game show. I think it is called "Are You Smarter Than Your 5th Grader." After reading this and listening to the buffoons on the stimulus this weekend--–No, they are not.

    February 8, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. The Truth Is!!!

    @roland February 8th, 2009 7:01 pm ET
    George Stephanopolos is always bias towards the Republicans. So, instead of finding something positive to say about this new honorable RNC Chair, he went the other way.........That is a Big Fat Lie ......Stephanopolos Is a Hannity Fan Enough Said!!!!

    February 8, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. mec

    I see here where the demobloggers have taken to calling Mr. Steele names, and saying that the Republicans are corrupt. At least Mr. Steele can show where his money comes from and that he pays his employees. He also, no doubt, pays his taxes.

    It will be years before anyone knows for sure where most of Mr. Obama's election contributions came from.

    Interesting: What's the count now on Obama Nominees that have had ethics problems? I don't mean esoteric stuff - I mean like forgetting to pay 134,000 in income tax, or underpaying your taxes routinely... underpaying taxes in amounts that exceed the salaries of most Americans. Oh yes - and lest we forget - selling senate seats. But if you go back a few years, you'll see this is nothing new. Barney Frank set up his ex to get a position paying millions of dollars in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac organizations.

    Democrats vote for the guy that promises them the most "goodies" from the public treasury. They always imagine that someone else will pay for it. Truth is, we all end up paying for itm and usually the "goodies" that are delivered are not anywhere near what was promised.

    I also see where the Russians found Biden's comments "positive."
    Now with Obama, we have an administration that the world knows is corrupt and unable to make the hard decisions about anything. God help the United States.

    February 8, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. Art Michaelson

    When big mouth Pat Buchanan was a Presidential candidate didn't he funnel large amounts of USA DOLLARS to his sister Bay's company? What happened to that STINKEROO. And then there is Tom Delay paying his wife and daughter large salaries for questionable work the may or may not have done. You need a BIG carpet to sweep all the shady stuff that has been done. What a short memory americans have.

    February 8, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
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