Because earning $223,500 per year as the GOP's designated loudmouth is not enough, Steele also dabbles in the private loudmouth sector, drawing up to $20,000 for speeches where he does stuff like praise ACORN. We found a video!
Republican National Committee chairmen of yore are shocked—shocked!—at current RNC Chairman Michael Steele's shameless greed. Here's what Steele's Reagan-era counterpart, Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., had to say when The Washington Times came calling:
Holy mackerel, I never heard of a chairman of either party ever taking money for speeches. 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.
And Fahrenkopf is CEO of the gambling industry's lobby firm, so he knows a thing or two shamelessness and greed, and usually has better curse words than that. The Times cites a speech at Philander Smith College where Steele earned between $10K and $15K, which is enough money to send a kid to Philander for two years. What, you ask, could Michael Steele do to be worth this much? How about undermining the GOP's attempt to paint ACORN as an irredeemably corrupt-to-the-bone organization, by praising it for successfully "getting out in front" of its one or two "bad seeds":
An RNC spokesperson says Steele has the right to give "inspirational speeches about his personal story." Inspirational if you want Republicans to lose, that is.
(Granted, the Washington Times sort of created this controversy; they basically just figured out Steele's price, and then called a couple old-school fuddy duds for horrified comment. Nonetheless, it is pretty ridiculous, and Michael Steele's a funny fellow. Will his numerous trip-ups ever escalate to the point that someone asks him to step down? Or will he continue to bumble clumsily along, a living, walking farce of the GOP's more pathetic impulses.)