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. LC in CA

    When you hide behind the Bible, and repress nature, then you wind up with liars, sexual deviants, and kink addicts. Just ask the Catholic Church, (or maybe not, since the Pope won't be bullied into telling the truth.) The Republicans have been wearing the mask of family values for so long, they have forgotten how to be human. That's why we get the wide-stances, the affairs, the kink, and all the other fringe-dweller hypocrisy that passes for intelligent rhetoric from this gang of weirdos.

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

    This is so tame in the world of big money and politics.

    March 29, 2010 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. Paul H

    To all the lefty's laughing, and acting like the GOP is the only party doing such things need I remind you about one of your own Presidents that had a little fun in the White House with a certain intern!
    Come on people these things are common place in politics. It's sad but true. So don't act so surprised.

    March 29, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  4. Jerry

    Of course Mr. Steele was not at the club and most of the comments here are from folks that did not read the story. Obama paid over a million to hide his school transcripts so la di da

    March 29, 2010 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. Eva

    Democrats are such bone heads! A nightclub payed for by the GOP ( not life changing) or Obismalcare that we and all our kids and grandkids will be paying for for the next 20 plus years? Where is the morality in that? We pay NOW for something we MIGHT get in 4 years...well if Obismal does not get re-elected (good chance) then all the money they are milking us for NOW to pay for healthcare will be LOST! Democrats...wake up. This is the LOWEST of moral and ethical standards!

    March 29, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  6. Carrera911

    A den of theives...Well, let's see what Steele has to say now. Sure can't blame Obama this time.

    March 29, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  7. Sigh...

    Great. Because the money was totally the problem. Look, RNC, you still spent party money at a sex club. Just because you got a refund for it doesn't mean that you didn't pay for it.

    March 29, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  8. rose

    Eva. They're both bad. Don't act like Dems didn't get upset with Edwards because everyone one I knew thought he was a skeeze for doing what he did. That's the difference b/t the parties. When someone on the right gets caught you say well someone on the left did....(fill in the blank) That's doesn't excuse anything.

    March 29, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Erik Brown is the CEO of Dynamic Marketing, Inc., has a degree from UC Irvine in Political Science, has been an active member of The National Honor Society, Young Republicans, Friends of the NRA, etc., etc.

    But here's my favorite part of his bio:

    "A former director of the Sunday school, Alison [his wife] and Erik reside in Las Flores, California and are actively involved in the ministries of their local church."

    That's going to be one interesting Easter Sunday Service at that church! 🙂

    March 29, 2010 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  10. gg

    Hey, why not? It was just part of the GOP Stimulus Bill...

    March 29, 2010 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Ozzie

    So??? What's the big deal??? I'm personally impressed that the NOGOP can loosen up and have some "common guy" fun.....

    March 29, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  12. Robert

    I thought the Republicans went to church and didn't do things wrong. Just as bad as the Dems. Dennis K is spot on.

    March 29, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  13. If you want someting taxed, and ruined, elect a democrat

    Wow, you guys hold a lot of hate towards anyone who doesn't think like you. I love seeing both sides try to distance themselves from their own party when them "embarrassing" little episodes happen. You dems spouting hate on this board can't say that you haven't had your own fair share.

    March 29, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  14. OHIO

    Dear Republicans – This is what happens when you have a party of constituents that constantly yells "we want our country back" or "deficit spending is out of control".


    So sad, you cant even control your accounting...and you want to control the accounting of the U.S. Government...That's laughable!!!

    March 29, 2010 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Jasmine

    Hey Sarah Palin, tell me again who is it that is going on a shopping spree??!?!

    March 29, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. tstorm

    Republicans are infamous for "Do as I say, not as I do!"

    March 29, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. colonelsalt

    Yeah, and this is the ONLY questionable charge on the books.

    March 29, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  18. Fariba

    This type of hypocrisy is absolutely nauseating...

    March 29, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. C

    I don't see the big deal. A political consultant (aka private citizen, not an elected official) submitted a bill for going out to a nightclub, the RNC paid for it...when they found out that it was a charge they didn't want to pay for they asked for the money back. You people do realize that not all members of the Republican party are religious zealots, right? Not all members claim to be the authority on morality. There are a lot of supporters of the Republican party that just happen to want to not pay more taxes, nothing more. Plus, $2,000 at a completely legal nightclub in LA is not unheard of. I have a feeling liberal celebrities have spent a whole lot more than that when they go out with their political buddies. Remember Nancy Pelosi's little taxpayer funded jaunts on her "private" jets?

    March 29, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  20. Jerry in Ohio

    something about stones and glass houses comes to mind....

    March 29, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Mrs. Pacman

    He was helping out the economy..........

    March 29, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    You've just gotta love those Conservatives' "Family Values"!

    March 29, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  23. Tracy

    The Party that hides behind FAMILY VALUES! Maybe the GOP donors should reconsider their affiliation.

    March 29, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  24. Marie MD

    Yeah, the family values obstructionist party.
    What I want to know is why the young man who threatened cantor (and BTW President Obama and others also) might go to jail for 15 years for doing nothing and vandebough, the militia guy, who did send people to throw bricks is not in jail?

    March 29, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Nija

    Fiscal conservative right? Who cast the first stone.................

    March 29, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
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