Michael Steele paid over $122,000 from his personal political account to a Washington law firm. The Steele camp suggests there’s an innocent explanation — but the Baltimore Sun is raising questions.
The paper reported over the weekend that Steele’s Maryland state campaign committee — which dates from his 2002 run for lieutenant governor — paid $122,195.01 during the second half of 2009 to Bryan Cave LLP, a top Beltway law and lobbying firm. That report was based on state election filings.
The filings didn’t specify what the payments were for — which according to the state board of elections, is a violation of campaign finance law. An anonymous Steele source told the paper that they were for an audit of Steele’s campaign finances, “to make sure that everything was OK.”
But the Sun notes that Steele’s former finance chair, Alan Fabian, has accused Steele’s 2006 Senate campaign of paying Steele’s sister $37,00 for campaign work that Fabian says she never performed, among other allegations. Fabian made the claims in a bid to get a more lenient sentence in an unrelated fraud case. In response, Steele said he would provide campaign records to the FBI.
No charges have been filed in connection to Fabian’s allegations.
Both Bryan Cave and the RNC declined to comment to the Sun, the latter saying that the payments were unrelated to the national party.