Tired of a series of embarrassing comments and controversies from the leader of the national GOP, some Michigan Republicans say they have no confidence in Michael Steele.

Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee, made national news yesterday when it was reported that the RNC struck a curious deal with the Michigan GOP. According to the Daily Caller, 15 Michigan donors maxed out their donations at the end of 2009 so as to give $500,000 to the RNC, which then returned the money within two months to the state GOP. It raises questions about campaign finance violations.

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Gerry Hildenbrand, a former chair of the Allegan County GOP who now serves on its executive committee, said he doesn't have confidence in Steele to lead the GOP.

"It's just one thing after another with him," Hildenbrand said. "Michael is a nice guy. I met him. If we had a do-over, I think we'd go with someone else." Other local Republican officials and longtime GOP officials pointed to a series of reports that have put Steele in a negative light.

The RNC paid a $2,000 bill for a trip to a West Hollywood erotic club featuring women simulating sex, according to the Daily Caller. Steele was not in attendance, according to the RNC.

The Daily Caller reports that in February, an RNC trip to California included a $9,099 bill at a Beverly Hills Hotel, $69,596 at the Four Seasons and the sex club payment. A midwinter trip to Hawaii came with a $43,828 bill, not including airfare.

Steele has also reportedly talked about wanting the RNC to purchase a private jet for his travel.

Steele told Fox News' Sean Hannity in January that he didn't think the GOP would win back the House of Representatives. Steele later backed off that comment.

"He has had more than a few gaffes," said Gerald Wall, chairman of the Roscommon County Republicans and a member of the Michigan Republican State Committee. "I'm kind of disappointed in him."

Wall said he wasn't in favor of replacing Steele now because it could hurt fundraising efforts.

"However, any more blunders of these proportions. ..."

Linda Lee Tarver, chairwoman of the Ingham County Republican Party, said Steele is the target of a media out to "take out" the RNC chairman.

Tarver said Steele was the "ideal" leader of the GOP right now. She said the national media is painting anyone who questions Barack Obama as a racist. That case can't be made with Steele because he is black, Tarver said.

"They (media) need to take him down," Tarver said.

"I think he is doing as good a job as anyone could under the circumstances, given the political climate we have," Tarver said. "The media has not been very gracious with the Republican Party or Mr. Steele. He is dealing with a Republican Party that has been really trampled on in the last two elections. ... He is making some changes and doing a fine job."

Livingston County GOP Chair Mike Murphy said he supported Steele.

"I wish he were a little more aggressive and had some more face time with the media on the two big issues, health care and the economy," Murphy wrote in an e-mail. "But from what I understand, he is very active behind the scenes."

Susan Chmielewski, chairwoman of the Wayne County GOP and a member of the state GOP committee, said reports of Steele's excessive expenses when the local Republican affiliates are scrambling to find money for their own candidates is bothersome.

"It's hard to get money from donors nowadays," Chmielewski said. "He's gone out spending like a king and he's no king. ... I don't have any confidence in him whatsoever. Like, zero. All these state parties are suffering. They are having a hard time funding their candidates. We need the money for that, not having a good time. He's just taking time up making us look foolish, as far as I'm concerned. This is too important an election.

"But what do you do with him?"

"I think it would be wonderful if he stepped down. Removing him? Eh. I don't know that is a good idea. I think he is there until after the elections."

Longtime GOP activist Peter Fletcher said he "would welcome a change" in leadership.

"I would hope it would be relatively soon," said Fletcher, who was a Republican National Committee Member from Michigan in the 1970s. "It appears to me there it too much focus on personal foibles and internal party problems. That is not what the party should be about. ... I never have faith in party officials who get more headlines than party candidates."