THE CHAIRMAN HAS NO CLOTHES…. Last week, Republican National Committee members launched a move to strip Chairman Michael Steele of his authority to spend party money on his own. A Steele ally denounced this as an “unprecedented” effort to “embarrass and neuter the chairman of the RNC.”

Yesterday, Steele’s intra-party foes succeeded in taking some of his power away.

Capitulating to critics on the Republican National Committee, embattled Republican Party Chairman Michael S. Steele has signed a secret pact agreeing to controls and restraints on how he spends hundreds of millions of dollars in party funds and contracts, The Washington Times has learned.

The “good governance” agreement revives checks and balances Mr. Steele resisted implementing for RNC contracts, fees for legal work and other expenditures that were not renewed after the 2008 presidential nominating contest…. It represents the first time in memory that rebel members of the Republican Party’s national governing body have successfully taken on the party’s historically powerful national chairman and his loyalists.

Making matters worse for Steele, Jay Banning, who Steele recently fired, will be brought back to help keep an eye on RNC spending. That might be a little awkward.

Keep an eye on what the anti-Steele contingent might try next. They don’t like Steele, and clearly don’t trust him, and just learned that they can win fairly easily when they challenge his leadership. They have no incentive to stop seeking additional checks on him, especially since Steele seems to need the party more than the party needs him.

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Steve Benen

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.