STEELE AT RISK OF LOSING MORE RNC POWER…. How precarious is RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s position? Last week, Republican committee members wanted to help control his rhetoric. This week, they want to control how he spends RNC money.

A battle over control of the party’s purse strings has erupted at the troubled Republican National Committee, with defenders of Chairman Michael S. Steele accusing dissident RNC members of trying to “embarrass and neuter” the party’s new leader.

Randy Pullen, the RNC’s elected treasurer, former RNC General Counsel David Norcross and three other former top RNC officers have presented Mr. Steele with a resolution, calling for a new set of checks and balances on the chairman’s power to dole out money. […]

The Pullen resolution would make it a written rule that contracts of $100,000 or more be open to competitive bidding; that all checks be signed by two RNC officers; that party staff be prohibited from signing on behalf of an officer; and that all contracts be reviewed and approved by the members of the RNC executive committee.

Some Steele allies are rushing to the chairman’s defense. Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus wrote an e-mail to the 168-member national committee, saying, “I urge you to reject this hostile attempt to embarrass and neuter the chairman of the RNC…. This resolution is an attempt to usurp the chairman’s authority in a completely unprecedented and historic manner.”

It’s too soon to say who’ll win this intra-party dispute, but the fact that this is even a subject of serious debate suggests Steele’s role as an ostensible party leader is not only weak, but his position is nearing collapse.

John Cole added, “At this point, we have to begin to wonder if Michael Steele will make it to the midterm elections.” I wouldn’t bet on it.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.