Steele's Speaking Fee Draws Ire

Is RNC Chairman Michael Steele putting personal profit ahead of his party? Republicans who have previously held his post are speaking out against Steele’s continued side career as a for-pay speaker, earning between $8,000 and $20,000 (plus first-class travel and lodging) for appearances. Steele already earns $223,500 per year for his elected post, and Frank J. Fahrenkopf—RNC chairman under President Reagan—protests, "The job of a national chairman is to give speeches. That's what the national party pays him for." Jim Nicholson, who held the post from 1997-2000, said the job "demands so much of your time that you can work 24/7 and not get everything done, so taking time out to speak for the benefit of one's own bank account is not appropriate." Steele's office deflected the criticism, saying that Steele is following appropriate rules and "has been giving inspirational speeches based on his personal story long before he was elected RNC chairman."