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. mike

    steele is stealing again by telling the voters that he is for family values
    let me say this I am still waiting to see a republican who isn't a crook
    or scum bag they only care about themselves why do you think they
    want less government because when they steal from you there is
    no backlash from the law that is the reason they want tort reform do
    you really think they are out for your best interest they could care less
    it is all about the money

    March 30, 2010 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. gary a proud canadian

    Steele and the repubs promoting their family values. what a joke.

    March 30, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Doug,lib jersey

    I love how the libs are parroting thier talking points about family values, I suggest we forget the words and observe the actions.

    Go take a drive around DC or the New York metro area, observe the lack of values of these libs as they put your life at risk with their narcisissm. Then observe the great Americans in a red area as they show you true compasion, courtesy, and respect.

    Notice how the libs have no proof of the name calling or spiting that they accuse the tea partiers of, even though they had countless cameras surounding them. Then check out how a majority of Democrats support the guy who made death threats against the Republican congressman Cantor.

    If you are honest and decent you wont support the left, the facts are the facts.

    March 30, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. Brian

    Dear GOP –
    This incident really helps solidify your claim to the moral high ground. Not only were members of your own party visiting (and expensing) a trip to a nightclub, they were also patronizing a club in one of the most homosexual-friendly cities in the country – West Hollywood. I love the hypocrisy interwoven with irony. Note to Michael Steele – West Hollywood has had a number of past gay mayors as well as a large gay population (more than a third).

    March 30, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. John

    good riddance..... the man doesn't need to be staffing at any political party in my opinion....

    March 30, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  6. Its a living..

    Talk about comic releif!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    How much better is my day going to get!? This story takes my day to new level.

    The party of Family Values, the party of prudes, the party of gay haters, the party of America First...and all the while they so don't practice what they preach do they?
    Now the head token Republicanknucklehead is pissy. But, I ask, when we find some drama or skeletons in his closet, because oh, its coming.
    We couldn't write this stuff.

    March 30, 2010 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Joe Smith

    It should of been Steele who was fired. But that might be beneficial to the party.

    March 30, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  8. Sophia

    GOD DON'T LIKE UGLY!!! Spending all that energy to make Obama look bad and now who looks bad.

    March 30, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. Brink

    So you mean that the President, Nancy Pelosi or rampant socialism was not responsible for this? You mean it was just some well heeled, high roller supporters of the mother, God and country party out spending their hard earned cash on some good ol' fun? Unbelievable.

    March 30, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Texas Doc

    I wonder how this will sit with the Taliban wing of the GOP? My suspicion is that they won't care. GOP=hypocrites. "It's ok for us, just not for them".

    March 30, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  11. Its a living..

    Why in our history do think that JUST because someone served in the military they are a shoe in for political postion?

    To me, I see this having no bearring on how to RUN a country. These people defended our country, which is admiralble. Very, but, that gives them a extra credit in the political world?

    Now, I know Sarah's response to this question, but, I would perfer if someone who knew how to get to a library lets say, would respond to that.

    March 30, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  12. fbysea

    I think that this would have been let go, were it not an election year.

    March 30, 2010 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. a4mentioned

    Could somebody please make a note of this for the elections in November? I'd especially like to file this under the "Family Values" section of the "How to Vote" fliers that Republicans hand out. Oh, and make sure all of the churches are aware of what "God's Party" is doing. Thanks for your time and consideration (from a working class, openminded, Christian, Independent who is tired of hearing conservatives use the "moral" argument – you have none).

    March 30, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  14. Brice

    This is bull...!! Only one person with spending 1,946.25 for fun? Steele should be fired too. Why can't Steele wants to update and speak out? Asked Ken McKay for a favor instead of Steele is something I can smell more lies.

    March 30, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Blkman

    WHY no one in the RNC have any ethics.

    March 30, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  16. John in Tampa

    Aren't kids idiots? You have to laugh.

    March 30, 2010 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Gale

    At least the Republican Party had the decency to fire the person, in the Democrat Party, they will hold out to the bitter end.

    March 30, 2010 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. Doug - Dallas

    Michael Steele has perpetuated the true nature of the Republican party and their wasteful spending that got us into this deficit problem that currently exists. I find it interesting that he criticizes Democrats while he lives "high on the hog" and allows his staffers to do the same. He is acting like a New York banker with the donations of hard working Americans and is sending a message to all Americans that this is what we can expect if the Republicans are returned to power. Keep it Mr. Steele and you'll guarantee your party with continue to be the minority.

    March 30, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  19. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    By the way, Obama's approval rating is higher than the Pope's.

    March 30, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Dean

    Guess they are teaching those "Young Eagles" Yeah boys they don't call it the Grand Old Party for nothing.

    March 30, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. JJS

    Isn't the Republican party supposed to be the party for the moral majority? Funny how things turn out.

    March 30, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  22. KJL

    I'm sure they will be quietly reinstated after the outrage dies down. After all, isn't that what politics is all about?

    March 30, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. CFC

    "That person was aware that this activity was not eligible for reimbursement and had been previously counseled on this very subject."

    Sounds like there are a lot of GOP meetings at Strip bars. Which brings up a whole gamut of questions. Was there a live band and did Huck set in on bass? Did Palin ever go and did they get her to get on stage? If so could she see Russia from the north pole? Did Rush Limbaugh have the cigar concession? And what about the other faction of the GOP? Did Larry Craig give tap dance lessons to GOP hopefuls in the men's room? Or did he hang out with Foley and friends in the cloak closet? Any reimbursement to Chip-in-Dales? Did Beck put on his chaps and crawl around on all fours? Was Steele wearing a floppy hat with feathers?
    Sounds like the GOP is trying to boost the economy one dollar at a time. Political coffers well spent..

    March 30, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  24. Jim

    I don't get it..mimicking sex acts by topless chicks..gets someone in trouble? Is the GOP gay?

    March 30, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. Dan, TX

    What's the difference between this and the way the republicans ran the country when they controlled congress?

    March 30, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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