Odd: That Steele would demand fees in the first place. More odd: that someone would rat him out right before Christmas, when the RNC is trying to simultaneously draw attention to health care legislation and draw attention away from Republicans' failure to stop it. Someone doesn't like Steele, but that someone likes the Republican caucus even less.
Michael S. Steele, Republican National Committee chairman, is using his title to market himself for paid appearances nationwide, personally profiting from speeches with fees of up to $20,000 at colleges, trade associations and other groups - an unusual practice criticized by a string of past party chairmen.
Mr. Steele, elected in January to the $223,500-a-year RNC post, is working with at least four outside agencies in Washington, New York, Boston and Nashville that book the speaking engagements. He charges between $8,000 and $20,000 for an address, plus first-class travel and lodging expenses.
..."Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches," said Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., RNC chairman under President Reagan and CEO of the American Gaming Association.
"The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That's what the national party pays him for. We didn't have a rule book back then, but being national chairman was and is a full-time job," Mr. Fahrenkopf said.