GOP Hush Money? Former Aide to Michael Steele Gets $100K
Republican Sources Say Ex-RNC Staffers Are Being Paid To Keep Quiet
By MATTHEW MOSK
June 22, 2010
(The token woman for the GOP to win the women's vote didn't work out. Palin lost the race for McCain. And the token black man, Steele to prove that they weren't racist has messed up royally. Instead of just picking someone, anyone to fill slots like these. It might be time to wake up and smell the garbage and perform collection. Dave)
The Republican National Committee has doled out more than $100,000 to the top staffer let go after the embarrassing discovery that the party spent nearly $2,000 to entertain young donors at a sex-themed Hollywood night club.
RNC Chairman Michael Steele speaks at the 2010 Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans,Louisiana in this April 10, 2010 file photo.
One GOP insider described the six-figure payment to outgoing RNC Chief of Staff Kenneth K. McKay IV – negotiated even though McKay had scarcely a year on the job -- as "hush money" to keep a former employee from divulging details of Michael Steele's controversial tenure as RNC chair.
Party insiders told ABC News the six-figure payout represented McKay's severance package, and came in exchange for him signing a strict confidentiality agreement. Two RNC sources, both of whom spoke on the condition they not be identified, said similar deals were struck with others who had been forced out in the last few months. Both sources have been critical of Steele's leadership. They said in separate interviews that, while they were not alleging that anything illegal took place, they believe the McKay agreement and others like it are aimed at preventing the departing cast of employees from disparaging Steele. McKay, who had received $163,000 in salary payments, did not respond to messages left at his home in Rhode Island.
Doug Heye, an RNC spokesman, called the assertion "laughable."
"It would be laughable to think a confidentiality agreement is anything other than standard operating procedure for a political organization," Heye said. "It's in our employee handbook."
Heye would not comment on the two large payments to McKay, which appeared on newly filed campaign finance reports Monday. On April 30, three weeks after McKay's resignation, the RNC wrote him a $62,949 check that it classified as "payroll." A week after that, McKay received another payment, this one for "housing reimbursements," totaling $40,967. The payments were first reported by Politico.
Hey Palin, how's that drilly baby drilly, spilly thingy workin' for ya, baby?