Over the weekend, newly installed Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus fired former chairman Michael Steele’s Tampa convention liaison.
"We are committed to holding a world-class 2012 Republican National Convention that will be worthy of the next President of the United States,” Priebus said in a statement. “There are some changes that need to be made to ensure a successful convention. Those changes start today. I have discontinued the employment of the convention liaison and the employees of the Committee on Arrangements, effective immediately. I look forward to bringing on top-notch staff and planning a convention that all Republicans, especially our 2012 Presidential nominee, can be proud of."
The liaison was Belinda Cook, a former Steele assistant. She was making $15,000 a month with a $25K bonus, according to The Washington Post. Calculating that out over 12 months, equates to a yearly salary of $205,000. That’s just $20,000 less than the chairman of the RNC makes.
The move is likely aimed as a first step to restore the faith of the committee’s major donors. Priebus is going to need them to open up their wallets for the 2012 cycle. He’s facing a debt of $21 million. He has pledged to raise $400 million over the next two years.
Steele’s six-figure deal
Unlike the 2009 RNC election, Friday’s election was mostly without drama, except for one moment: Steele’s bowing out. Most didn’t see it coming just then. Observers knew that Steele was angling for a deal, and he was seen coming out of rooms Friday between votes with other candidates.
But Hotline’s Reid Wilson has a little more on what Steele may have gotten in return for his endorsement:
“That endorsement came at a cost, according to committee insiders. As candidates jockeyed for position, Steele sat down with aides to both Cino and former RNC co-chairman Ann Wagner in search of a deal. Eventually, Cino allies offered Steele a deal that would have been more lucrative than the chairman's salary, the sources said. The RNC chairman makes $224,500 a year. Whether the deal included guarantees of contracts or of future employment was not immediately clear to sources who spoke with The Hotline.”
We’ll see where he winds up.