March 29th, 2010
07:58 PM ET
13 years ago

California Republican returning RNC money after racy club visit

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="RNC chairman Michael Steele said Monday it was unacceptable for the party to pay for a night out at racy Los Angeles nightclub."]Washington (CNN) - A California-based political consultant who charged the Republican National Committee nearly $2,000 for a night out at Voyeur - a risque West Hollywood nightclub now at center of the latest controversy surrounding RNC chairman Michael Steele - will return the money to the party, a committee spokesman told CNN Monday.

Erik Brown, president of the Orange County-based Dynamic Marketing, Inc., was re-imbursed in February for $1,946.25 worth of charges at the nightclub, according to the RNC's latest filing with the Federal Election Commission.

It's not clear why the RNC re-imbursed Brown for the charges or who else was with him at the club. A spokesman for the RNC said Steele was not at the club when the charges were made.

The RNC said Brown is returning the money in question to the RNC. "The committee has received a commitment that the money will be returned," the spokesman told CNN.

Earlier Monday, after questions arose about why the party would spend precious donor funds at a trendy Hollywood nightclub that features topless dancers simulating sex acts, a committee spokesman said the charges were being "investigated" and that the reimbursement was "made to a non-committee staffer."

Brown's firm, which also has an office in Washington, D.C., has done direct mail and consulting work for GOP candidates in California including Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, now a candidate for Senate, and Steve Poizner, the state Insurance Commissioner now running for governor.

Brown did not respond to phone calls or e-mails seeking comment, but he has spent time with Steele in the past. In October, Brown tweeted: "Enjoying the football game with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (Eagles vs Redskins at FedEx Field)."

Brown closed his Twitter account on Monday after the nightclub story broke.

- CNN's David DeSola contributed to this report

Filed under: 2010 • California • Michael Steele • Popular Posts • RNC
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. LoveThyNeighbor

    It does not matter that they are returning the money. The bell has been rung. I saw in the news this week that some Relic' was stating that they are the "Checks-and-Balances" of Congress. If they cannot "Check-and-Balance" themselves, how do they expect the American people to TRUST them to do so for US!?...Sam

    March 29, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. adamjp

    how do parties pick leaders? Steele? Pelosi? even Reid....I believe both parties need to be led by men and women that can represent America...not represent the extreme of their party. Hopefully Steele will be replaced by someone more mature and ready to work for America and abandon the extremism and obstructionism strategy his party has adopted. The House would do well to pick a more moderate speaker as well...

    March 29, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  3. Civitas

    A whole new meaning to the phrase, "Off Site Safety Meeting."

    March 29, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    come on GOPers we all know that Sarah Palin would not approve of this, but I doubt if she'll say anything about it since it wasn't a Democrat that did it. Personally I have little problem with guys going to such places, it's their money, but the problem I have with it here is the "family values' "Focus on the Family" party that is so quick to condemn others for doing are no different.

    March 29, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Sensible Joe

    Dear GOP: You spend donor dollars on lavish living and bondage strip clubs while Americans struggle with a recession, and then expect us to entrust you as fiscal and moral conservatives with the national purse, full of many more taxpayer dollars? How foolish do you think we are? No thanks, no way!

    March 29, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  6. Gerry In Toronto

    Nice work by Steele to get Erik Brown to take the heat for this. It's painfully obvious, though, that Steele was right there with him, had Brown pick up the tab and then approve the tab for payment.

    I really do find the GOP family value thingy to be quite entertaining. If it's not hiking on the Appalachian trail, it's playing footsies in a men's washroom, or having an affair with an assistant, or now down to hard core strip clubs.

    Yep, can't wait for these guys to be running the US government again, I can imagine porn to take on a whole new meaning in their next administration.

    March 29, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    "Do as I preach, not as I do – because I'm a good Christian ...... now where's my gun?"
    The hypocrite party of NO in all there grace filled glory.

    March 29, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. madmax

    They don't call him John "Boner" for nothing...LOL

    March 29, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  9. JCC

    Come on guys ... The party of NO ideas .... No solutions ... No brains
    ... cannot be called the party of NO FUN !!!

    March 29, 2010 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  10. Goes to show you...

    Just goes to show you that all and I mean ALL Politicians are scum. That includes all the Repukes and Obama Zombies. All scum, everyone of them.

    March 29, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  11. Mary Ann in VA

    Careful GOP folks! You've gotta get your party members under control. A night at a T&A bar but does not make you a bad person but if the party members are not taken to task it does make you a hypocrite.

    March 29, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. call me crazy

    So let's get to the chase. Where these female strippers they went to see?

    March 29, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Lucy, Texas

    Oops, the moral majority got caught with their pants down...again.

    $2000.00 is a whole lot of lap dances even for the Republicans. I can just hear the Republican spin on the incident. They were working on increasing jobs for loose women...oops ....strike that....increasing jobs for local women.

    March 29, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. LacrosseMom

    Republicans forget that...... "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!" Just a few weeks ago when the Edwards scandal got even more scandalous, the comments on these blogs by the holier-than-thou were terrible!

    And now this........ Funny!

    March 29, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. cermdgn

    How about the dems Copenhagen party?

    March 29, 2010 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. Fitz In Texas

    Well, at least he didn't waste tax payers dollars unlike Obama and his administration.

    March 29, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  17. Patty in California

    Why, I find it hard to believe that an Orange County man would do such a thing....aren't they all God fearing, Church attending, Promise seeking, republicans? Once again that OC , Image is Everything, montra bites one of their own in the behind. Gotta love it 🙂

    March 29, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. StopNonsense

    Judicial Watch Announced a list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Senator Roland Burris (D-IL) Attorney General Eric Holder Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) # Senator John Ensign (R-NV) Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT). Out of this list, only 1 Republican was listed and the rest were DEMOCRATS. Everyone is listed for a reason and you can look them up.

    Pelosi's listing was because of her $101,000 alcohol bill that she stuck the American taxpayer. How soon we forget.

    March 29, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. LoveThyNeighbor

    GOP'er logic...

    "Family Values" = Someone ELSES family.
    (See current article.)

    "Gay agenda" = As long as WE don't get caught with OUR pants
    down. (Can you say Craig"?) DON'T tease the
    pages. (Can you say Foley?) Etc...Etc...Etc...

    "Morals" = UMM...We have none. Is that a cookie?

    "Abortion" = I will get one if it happens to me, BUT, YOU cannot!
    (All the while grabbing @ coat hanger.)

    DADT = Not in my backyard nor MY bed.
    (As long as I don"t get caught! – think California.)

    ANYONE who believes otherwise has the same intentions!

    SCarEd To LiVe Their Own LiVeS FeArInG OtHeRs WiLL HaTe ThEm!!!


    March 29, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. David

    Who else was there, name them.

    March 29, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  21. Dave, the Truthteller

    If this was an oversight from the DNC, CNN would never had mentioned it. CNN, news the DNC can count on....

    March 29, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. joesmom

    Just read that Sean Hannity's big charity, where 100% is supposed to go to children of servicemen killed in the war on terror, is a sham. Turns out only 7% is actually going to kids, and the rest is going towards private jets for Hannity's family and friends, lavish hotel suites, parties, etc. The actual family get about $1,000 each. Gee, that wouldn't cover one month of my rent! These Rethugs are just a bunch of crooks!

    March 29, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Gerry NH

    The democrats have nothing to say here. The democrats are OK with bribery and extortion of hundreds od millions of dollars on a bill that the majority of Americans don't want. The democrat party is now offically the new party of NO.

    March 29, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  24. Dennis

    A committment that the money will be returned????? Let me see the canceled check!! It will be returned until this all blows over and oops I forgot. Intergrity is what you do when you think nobody is watching. The GOP doesn't care if you are watching or not, they will just do whatever they feel like.

    March 29, 2010 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Cathy Teitelbaum

    Your father's contributed money at work

    March 29, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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