March 30th, 2010
09:00 AM ET
5 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. Tre'

    Wow... I wish CNN would've devoted this same rigor in coverage to the ACORN scandal.

    However, that said, glad the staffer was fired.

    March 30, 2010 09:07 am at 9:07 am |
  2. AndyBlue

    I feel almost bad for all the lower middle class donators who save up in these hard times to give money to the RNC only to find out that Michael Steele redecorated his office to the tune of $18,000.00.

    This mirrors what republicans do with our tax dollars in Washington. We have the example the past 8 years of republican rule which only further proves this to be the case.

    But the fact that America tortured people on such a large scale still tops the list. I still cant believe we did the awful things we did and how widespread it really was.

    We will now all carry that disgraceful fact with us the rest of our lives. Who would have thought America would be know for torturing, raping and murdering, men women and children.

    Republicans brought this onto America while spending more time on no-bid contracts rather than even properly arming our Soldiers and Marines. I will never vote for another Republican again in my life for this reason.

    March 30, 2010 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  3. Former Nude Models like Scott Brown make great "conservative" role models for our nation's youth

    Why is everyone being so hard on Steele? He only allowed an anonymous staffer to go get a Boehner at the donor's expense, and then submitted the FEC filing. This is nothing to get excited about. Once this issue popped up, Steele took full personal responsibility by firing the anonymous staffer. There should be more important issues that arouse the public's attention.

    March 30, 2010 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  4. CEE

    We finally found something that the GOP says yes to, Strippers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 30, 2010 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Felonious Monk

    LOL, LOL, LOL.

    Family Values-let's see if any of these so called conservatives accept responsibility for this one.

    The fall guy has fallen, let's see if anyone steps up to the plate and accepts responsibility for this one.

    LOL, LOL, LOL.

    March 30, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. gl, From Pittsburgh

    Republicans are hypocrites at so many things.

    1. They are prolife, but purchased Heath care that covered baby killing.
    2. They are for Family Value, but cheat on their wifes and spend tax
    donors money in strip clubs.
    3. They were for the committee that were to study ways to lower the deficts, but voted against setting up the committee and the list go on and on.

    March 30, 2010 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  7. Mark

    Funny what the RNC thinks is important.

    March 30, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. kevin collins

    it's no wonder your ratings are as low as they can get! you talk about the rnc spending almost $2k at a night club when the democrats are well on there way to bankrupting this country. if thats the best you can find cnn needs to close up shop & let hsn take over your air time. you people are unbelievable to say the least. remember how you spent each & every day bush bashing? get real cnn & start telling america the real news.

    March 30, 2010 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  9. The Other Michael in Houston

    It makes me always wonder when there is such a flurry of statements made about a persons so called innocence,in most cases they are guilty. For an example, Steele if you had nothing to do with this, say it and leave it alone. But all this effort in trying to prove that you did not is making us wonder. It makes no difference though, the Republican Jihadist Establishment will be phased out in about 7 months.

    March 30, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  10. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Democrat would have stayed on and claimed TEA party did it and DNC would have backed him up.

    March 30, 2010 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  11. The Other Michael in Houston

    Please CNN, open your blog entry " Tea Party defends" for comments, I got so much to say abou them.

    March 30, 2010 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  12. jhwy

    the "family values" party. what a joke

    March 30, 2010 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  13. MR AMERICA, average American

    Wow, I didn't think any GOP members liked women anymore. I'm actually impressed! :)

    March 30, 2010 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  14. Elliott Carlin

    The choices were taking clientele to:

    a risque' nightclub, or
    Barney Fwank's Georgetown apartment.

    March 30, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  15. Brandon

    Is this really newsworthy? Yawn.

    March 30, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  16. Harry8

    Typical Family Values republicans, just like republican Senators Packwood, Vitter, Craig and John Ensign, Governors Sanford and The Grope-inator ArnO, pundits Dr. Laura, Morning Joe and O ‘Riley. Don’t forget little Newt and 9/11-Rudy.

    March 30, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  17. psgmichigan

    Nice move, chairman Steele. Fire a "little" guy and it will all go away. I think the Republican party will see through this and fire the right person.

    March 30, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  18. Baby Boomer

    While I'm not a fan of the RNC or Michael Steele, no one can see or know about everything their staff does at all times.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your view) with camera phones, Facebook and YouTube always at the ready, leaders of all Corps., political parties, etc., will now and forever be finding out about these kinds of activities thru the media instead of internally.

    We just have to get used to it being a tell all, gotcha kind of world from now on.

    March 30, 2010 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    This poor RNC Staffperson is being used as a "scapegoat"!!! Actually, this RNC Staffperson probably does not even EXIST....LOL

    This story is a COMPLETE SPIN!!! Erik Brown – the Private Individual andr the RNC Staff person???? The RNC Staffperson got fired!!! What happened to Erik Brown and the Private Individual????

    For $2000 a "GHOST" got fired!!! What about Sanford, Steele and others who did the same thing – for much more money – and they're still employed!!?? This is a bunch of CRAP!!

    March 30, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  20. Al-NY,NY

    "family values" party......what a crock. They are just as corrupt as anyone else so their moralizing is so hypocritical, it's not even funny

    March 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. James Miller

    Repubs work to have a " Christian " image.----- They should have attended a prayer meeting. On second thought, meaby that`s what happened there !!!

    March 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  22. Mr Phil

    Say it isn't so!!! Someone from the GOP isn't practicing the "Family Values" they preach about. Maybe they were trying to convince the dancers to choose another vocation. Hypocrites!!!

    March 30, 2010 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  23. johnsonj3

    who cares are of you are crooks.

    March 30, 2010 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  24. vizi

    Firing for going to nightclub that is strange .

    Did not know the morality is only connected to parties . If the businesses are legal then why going there should be punished

    Double standards

    March 30, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  25. Simon Anderson

    Are you kidding? Can you even begin to imagine what the right wing noise machine would be saying/doing if this were a Democrat? Faux News Channel would be spinning up million dollar graphics every 15 minutes along with the amusing "FOX NEWS ALERT" music making as much political hay as possible out of this. Hannity would be trying to link it to President Obama. Over at Lush Flimbaugh's headquarters they'd be claiming that it was a socialist strip club. The GOP is the party of family values???? I guess only when they want to be.

    March 30, 2010 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
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