March 30th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
4 years ago

RNC staffer fired after nightclub controversy

A Republican National Committee staffer who went to a risque Hollywood nightclub with party donors and then expensed the tab has been fired.
A Republican National Committee staffer who went to a risque Hollywood nightclub with party donors and then expensed the tab has been fired.

Washington (CNN) - A Republican National Committee staffer who went to a risque Hollywood nightclub with party donors and then expensed the tab has been fired, RNC Chief-of-Staff Ken McKay said in an internal memo sent to committee members late Monday and obtained by CNN.

McKay said an investigation into how the RNC ended up financing a nearly $2,000 outing at Voyeur - a trendy Los Angeles club where topless dancers can be seen mimicking sex acts - determined that a group of young donors went to the club after attending a Young Eagles event in Los Angeles in February.

The Young Eagles program is an RNC effort to cultivate up-and-coming donors in their 30s and 40s. One of the donors in the group that night was Erik Brown, a GOP consultant from Orange County, who ultimately picked up the tab at the club.

The Voyeur visit "was not an RNC sanctioned event and was not associated in any way with any RNC official event," McKay stressed in the memo.

"Subsequently, a request for reimbursement to the private individual was submitted by a RNC staff person," McKay wrote. "That person was aware that this activity was not eligible for reimbursement and had been previously counseled on this very subject. Accordingly, that staff person has been terminated."

McKay did not identify the fired staffer. He also said Brown, the "private individual," has "verbally agreed" to return the money to the RNC.

Full memo:

Chairman Steele and Co-Chairman Larimer wanted me to update you on media reports circulating today regarding expenditure of RNC funds.

Specifically, the reports point to a reimbursement of $1946.25 to an individual in California for an expenditure at a club named Voyeur West Hollywood. Our investigation has determined that following a Young Eagles event in Los Angeles, a group of individuals did attend such a club on their own. This was not an RNC sanctioned event and was not associated in any way with any RNC official event.

Subsequently, a request for reimbursement to the private individual was submitted by a RNC staff person. That person was aware that this activity was not eligible for reimbursement and had been previously counseled on this very subject. Accordingly, that staff person has been terminated.

Additionally, we have requested by letter repayment of the $1946.25 from the individual who was reimbursed. He has verbally agreed to repay the funds to the RNC.

I want to ensure you that at no time was Chairman Steele or Co-Chairman Larimer or any member of the senior staff aware of the purpose of this reimbursement or present at the afterhours non-official get together.

I speak for all the staff when I say we fully understand the responsibility with which we have been entrusted.

We are dedicated to the efficient use of RNC funds to ensure as many victories in 2010 as possible. We look forward to working with each and every one of you to bring about those victories.

Ken McKay
Chief of Staff
Republican National Committee


Filed under: Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Capt. Snarky

    A Republican National Committee staffer who went to a risque Hollywood nightclub with party donors and then expensed the tab has been fired
    -----------------------–

    And rightly so!

    March 30, 2010 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Tom

    Love it. Keep tap dancin'. There's more where that came from.

    March 30, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    GOP, the party of Family Values?

    March 30, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  4. Adam CT

    So the leadership of a political party made a poor decision and decided to throw someone they deemed expendable under the bus to try to diffuse the controversy. Big surprise there.

    March 30, 2010 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  5. Angry

    Isn't this typical? A Republican, who touts moral superiority and virtue as a member of the GOP, gets caught in a compromising position and the party thinks they can put a band-aid on it by making him return money and firing him. All it does is prove to the American people that the GOP use morals as a political tool, not guidelines for life, and that they will exploit honest people's earnest beliefs for the sake of a vote. The truth is that they don't even believe what they're selling, so neither should we.

    March 30, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. pjwisc

    What a shame!

    March 30, 2010 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Jeff, Sarasota Florida

    The GOP at it's finest... if ya screw up and get caught you are a scape goat... They made a mistake by paying with party funds, so they pay it back... now they are fired, why, not because they went to a night club, but because they brought embaressment to the party... seems kinda funny considering how the GOP seems to embaress themselves so much and are constantly apologizing for stupid stuff...

    March 30, 2010 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  8. Health care

    Sebelius warns insurance companies not to look for non-existent loopholes. Ya, right. Insurance companies are going to do their thing. Better to close those non-existent loopholes.
    Sheesh, our government needs to go back to public school and graduate with a diploma instead of a certificate.

    March 30, 2010 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. Rich Wilson

    Well, well, so much for the party of higher moral values......

    March 30, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  10. veronika

    Didn't they say yesterday they they (rnc) used funds such as these to sway younger doners? And like what someone else commented yesterday, at least it wasn't a gay strip club! I guess they arenlt stupid enough to "expense" that after hours outing. They just pay cash for those!

    March 30, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. Mace

    BFD. This is just a diversion or smoke screen for the obscene healthcare bill and all the bribes and arm twisting that went on to get it done. Business is done every day in America in strip clubs. Lets see some investigative work on all the chicanery and thuggery that goes on daily behind the scenes at the White House.

    March 30, 2010 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Terry from West Texas

    This is not the first Republican dollar that has been spent on providing pretty girls to big bucks donors. Now Michael Steele is saying "California has a strip club in it?" They fired the idiot not for what he did but for getting caught.

    All that family values crap that they preach to the hayseeds is just a sales pitch.

    What is unfortunate is that the hayseeds don't realize that they are being taken for a ride. A bunch of guys in tailored suits and poofy hairdoos who do not themselves care a bit about "family values" pretend in public speeches to care about the people they are talking to. Republican leaders regard Republican voters very much like a dairy farmer regards his herd.

    March 30, 2010 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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