News in Brief: Republican National Committee Members Wage Quiet War to Topple Steele, and More

Republican National Committee Members Wage Quiet War to Topple Steele

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele wants to be remembered for “electing more candidates to office since 1983” than anything else. But some key RNC members are hoping that controversial, gaffe-prone Chairman Steele, Maryland’s former lieutenant governor, does not seek a second term despite his gains, The Hill reports.

Many Republicans have started pushing for Steele to step aside following the party’s wins in the midterm elections, fearing a messy political battle if he does not. But according to former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minnasota), “in politics, perception is everything,” and ousting the party’s first African-American chairman without his consent “when we have the first African-American president” could give the party a bad image.

“In any race you have, you take a look at what the current circumstances are,” said Michigan RNC committeeman Saul Anuzis, who is challenging Steele for the post. Said Anuzis, “He was hired for the 2010 cycle, when we needed a spokesperson and face of the party. In the 2012 cycle, we’re going to have a very different set of circumstances.”

FDIC to Investigate 50 Failed Banks

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) plans to investigate 50 banks that have failed since the start of the financial crisis, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Pressure is “high” for the FDIC to investigate abusive lenders that caused the financial crisis. So the FDIC, which is responsible for handling bank failures, is “stepping up its effort to punish alleged recklessness, fraud and other criminal behavior” with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the wake of nearly 300 banks having failed since 2008. Fred W. Gibson, a deputy inspector general at the FDIC, declined to name targets of the investigation.

Britain to Compensate Former Guantánamo Detainees

The New York Times reports that Britain’s Justice Minister Kenneth Clarke has announced with great hesitation that his government would pay millions of dollars in compensation “to 15 former detainees at Guantánamo Bay and one man still held there who have accused Britain’s intelligence agencies of colluding in their torture in the American-run detention system.” Reaching the deal after fighting off numerous lawsuits, Clarke said he had drawn a line “in the sand” and ultimately had saved taxpayer dollars by avoiding millions of dollars in litigation.

Haitian President Warns Against Violence Amid Foreign Cholera Outbreak

On the second day of devastating riots in Haiti’s second-largest city of Cap-Haitien, Haitian President René Préval, according to The Guardian, issued a warning to protesters who are decimating the city: “Those who are creating the violence, who are looting warehouses, who are destroying other citizen’s wealth, you should be reminded that no serious government will tolerate the state of disorder you are creating …”

Riots are now in their third day in Cap-Haitien, where a cholera outbreak blamed on UN peacekeeping forces is said to be the reason for the riots. While the UN has denied responsibility, independent health experts have called “for an independent investigation into whether Nepalese peacekeepers introduced the south Asian strain of cholera to Haiti.”

Haiti was devastated by an earthquake in January.