The Republican National Committee (RNC) is denying that Chairman Michael Steele was rejected from participating in a Chicago "Tea Party" protest.

Protest planners said they received a request from Steele's scheduler for the chairman to address the April 15th rally in Chicago. Eric Odom, the head organizer, declined, and posted his rejection letter on his organization's website:
I very much appreciate the fact that Chairman Steele is now finally starting to reach out to the true grassroots side of the free-market movement in America. Unfortunately, it appears that he has only just decided to reach out after realizing how big the movement has gotten and how much media is now involved.

[snip]

This will also present a fantastic time for Chairman Steele to LISTEN to what we have to say and perhaps gather some thoughts on what the RNC needs to be doing moving forward.

With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steel that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.

The RNC is now firing back, claiming Steele did not fish around for an invitation in the first place. "He never asked to speak," a party official told U.S. News and World Report. "There was never an expectation nor formal request for our participation."

But the organizers are sticking to their story, publishing a press release announcing that they rebuffed Steele. The RNC official said the protesters were just "having a little fun."