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. gt

    good they should..

    March 30, 2010 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    So much for the party of "FAMILY VALUES" and respectability!

    March 30, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. nikita kakkad

    Hello,
    nice to read
    enjoyed a lot
    and very intresting

    March 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Adam

    Why is he being fired if the expense was approved? Not saying this isn't just one more stupid expense for the hypocritical RNC, however, give blame where blame is due.

    March 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Todd

    Give some low level hireling the sack to cover for the elite. Just like abu graihb. It is the conservative way. We all should bow and scrape to the high and mighty according to conservative principles.

    March 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  6. Ben in Texas

    Oh, that high flyin' GOP! They've not only got Young Eagles, but also lots of old buzzards (e.g., John McCain) and chicken hawks (e.g., Dick Cheney)!

    Now, if they could just muster one wise owl...

    March 30, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Fed Up

    I am getting more fed up by the minute.

    Republicans are relentless in claiming moral superiority over the Democrats and touting conservative family values. Yet they seem to have no problems funding a trip to a morally deficient establishment (until they got caught); and now we learn that the RNC is accepting money from donors who are essentially moral perverts.

    If the GOP is the party of higher values, as they claim to be, shouldn't they return any money that these donors contributed and refuse to accept any further contributions from them?

    Where is Republican leadership? Where is conservative outrage?

    Their silence speaks volumes.

    March 30, 2010 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  8. hampster

    Republicans always buy their votes!

    March 30, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. ChowardDC

    So I guess there are actually Republicans out there who aren't stodgy old men....who knew!

    March 30, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  10. Greg in Texas

    Who were the other "Young Eagles" in attendance? Or did they have their white robes and pointy hoods on again so no one could see their identity?

    March 30, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  11. John

    They had no problem when the request for payment was made.
    They had no problem when they paid that request.
    They only had a problem with this after the press found out.
    "At no time" where the people responsable for managing the finances aware what was being requested, approved and paid? No wonder GOP in control allways leads to financial disaster. Same excuses Bush used. I guess steele must have just gotten bad intel too.

    March 30, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  12. JackML

    Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Spend $2000 on sending a soldier's parents to his graduating ceremony or hoot at naked little girls. I guess that's what you get for flag-waving without the substance.
    Hey...think its great that the GOP picked Steele & now attack him. They just don't get the demographics thing! Kinda like picking Palin, too. That really impressed the women when T&A was picked over accomplishment & talent!

    March 30, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. People Not Corporations Comprise This Country

    Erik Brown is the name of the "consultant". He is not a "staffer".

    What is the name of the "staffer" that was fired? Get him on the Rachel Maddow show.

    Ms. Maddow is one journalist that does her prep work and does not let politicians simply repeat their talking points without challenging their obvious lies.

    March 30, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Grahame Rhodes

    And this is a surprise? Just your RNC usual sleazy method of spending money that doesn't belong to them, or did you forget the eight years of Bush Rove Chaney and company. Good Riddance to Bad Rubbish.

    March 30, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Daniel

    Let me get this right. Someone in the RNC does something wrong and they fire them? I thought it was PC to understand them, make a law protecting their actions, call anyone against it a homophobe, sexist, racist and then yell at them they are inciting violence. If only this staffer did something more honorable like not pay your taxes. Then he would have been promoted and might have been hired by the Obama administration. Way to go RNC for cleaning out the trash.

    March 30, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Minnesotan

    If the RNC is allegedly "Fiscally Conservative" (what a joke), did they go to the strip club and ask for the cheap strippers?!? It's a good thing the Republicans are SO trustworthy, reliable, patriotic and conscientious with their, and our funds..... what a bunch of lying hypocrites....

    March 30, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Jim

    hmmm. well, he certainly overstepped boundaries.

    it seems to me that mark sanford should also be fired. you know ... the governor of south carolina who flew to argentina to cheat on his wife. i'd venture to say his activities were much more out of line than someone going to a strip joint.

    March 30, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  18. Erin

    Well, if they want to attract youth to the GOP, this is a pretty good start, wouldn't you agree?

    March 30, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. methuselah

    There's your Grand Old Party! The Moral Majority! This is the true face of the Conservative male. He talks a moralistic story by day and bends all the rules at night. Great job Steele. You've picked your Young Eagles and put them on the path to Congressional success.

    March 30, 2010 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Ron L

    "and had been previously counseled on this very subject" – How many times has this happened I wonder?

    March 30, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Ken in NC

    Well we see now what the Republican Party is trying to bring into their Party of Family Values. Way to go Republicans.

    The only thing I like better than a bad Republican is a good Republican because when they are really good they good and bad.

    March 30, 2010 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Swedish Chef

    Hahaha, an anonymous staffer? So some made up person, who the RNC won't identify, is responsible. Riiiight.

    March 30, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. Terrence

    This is not a political issue. This is a stupidity issue.

    March 30, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Dean

    Nice Try Michael had this not got out he would still be working there.

    March 30, 2010 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. Ray from Bisbee, AZ

    Now there's a great example of family values!

    March 30, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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