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. Dusty

    The party of NO and hypocrisy stumbles on.......

    March 29, 2010 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  2. Tom

    The party of family values. Right-O.

    March 29, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  3. Michael from Ventura

    The republican national commitee strikes again! Think I'll stick with hope and change!! How's that skin-thing workin for ya??

    March 29, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  4. Gil

    Family oriented RNC has slipped into an overconfident mode that most Americans find disgusting. I hope we all remember these little things that add up to total hypocracy from a Party that has done nothing now for a year, but say NO!

    March 29, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  5. harley

    this is just what I would have expected from the GOP...and guess how many abortions have been paid for by gop money...probably plenty....they are against anything for anybody except themselves...i hear they are lousy tippers so those poor hard working girls and guys probably didnt make alot

    March 29, 2010 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  6. jbakaregit

    Lets hear it for the party of fiscal responsibility. Not.

    This isn't surprising. The blew Democrat Bill Clinton's $200 billion surplus and turned it into a deficit by starting 2 unfunded wars (one of which was based on lies they have yet to go to court for), unfunded drug prescription bill (handout to big pharma) that created the donut hole, no-bid contracts to folks like Halliburton and Blackwater, 2 tax cuts to the richest among us who didn't need it and didn't ask for it, etc.

    March 29, 2010 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  7. Bert

    AW lay off the RNC and Michael Steele-they were just trying to reach out to the gay community by supporting business. PASS THE POPCORN

    March 29, 2010 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  8. Troy Hawkins--Fairmont West Virginia

    These people are double hypocrites, Not only are they supposed to be the party of financial responsibility but also of "values" They fail at both

    March 29, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. TheDodoBird

    The real issue here is that the right-wingers platform on LESS spending. If they are out spending almost $2000 at a night/strip club, then how would they be able to balance a budget?!? Let us not forget when Sarah Palin spent thousands of dollars on a wardrobe during the 2008 Presidential Elections. These guys are full of them selves! There "family Values" has nothing to do with real morals or ethics, they just want votes! I think this just about proves that... By the way, this was the least of their expenditures. Read the related article on HP....

    March 29, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. malclave

    So, CNN... are you going to start reporting on Democrats whenever they do something comparable?

    Or are you so in the tank that all you can do is criticize your betters?

    March 29, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. S

    Typical shadey, shoddy CNN reporting. Steele was no where involved in this club visit, but CNN does everything they can to imply this. Even to the point of posting Steeles picture next to the headline. I agree the GOP screwed up expensing this, but I guarantee this happens quite often on both sides. What is sad here is to imply that Steele was there partying it up as well. Wonder if we'll see a story later clarifying it. Doubt it. At least Fox laid it out there condeming the act and then bringing to the surface the liberal slanting medias attempt to tie Steele to the night. And as usual all you sheeples, everyone of you fell for it straight up. Doubt this one will get posted, I just noticed this is a moderated forum. I love getting on CNN's unmoderated forums, much fairer.

    March 29, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  12. Cynthia -MN

    one more thing, to someone's stupid remark about republicans not tipping or giving money to charities. You might want to read up because 9 times out of 10 it is your dumb liberals that won't give up their money.

    They claim they want to help out, but the truth is they want everyone else to help out except themselves. They are the stingiest people I have met. I can say this with all the experiences I have had with dems and republicans. My partner runs a non-profit organization and we have better luck receiving contributions to help inner city youth from republicans than from the liberals. The saddest part about all of that is we are in the city that is run by liberals, who claim they want to make things better for the youth in the area, but you can't even get them to make a small personal contribution much less spend the money the city has in an appropriate way,

    March 29, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. Shouterguy

    Republicans: the Party of discipline!

    And bondage!

    March 29, 2010 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  14. Louis

    The American people may not understand "Obamacare" or the 2000 pages that it is written on but they under HYPOCRISY.

    Maybe the Republicans should "fake" being moral and upstanding citizens since we know that they are not practicing what they want for everyone else. Would that be good for you?

    March 29, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  15. PaulC

    So much for fiscal conservatism. What people lose sight of is that these donations are tax free so that we the taxpayers are subsidizing these boondoggles. I think the Republicans should pay taxes on funds spent on personal expenses.

    March 29, 2010 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  16. sickoftea

    RNC -- staunch advocates of fiscal conservatism, Christian family values and the marriage protection act. Whoever said Republicans no longer contribute to the political process. It appears to me they’re all working tirelessly to take sleaze and hypocrisy to a whole new level. Thanks for your hard work my fellow elephants.

    March 29, 2010 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. people

    hey guys there is nothing wrong going to clubs with our tax money. come onnnnnnn atleast GOP is helping our economy. hahahaha WOOOWWW GOP I DONT KNOW WHAT TO SAY

    March 29, 2010 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |

    OMG ...finally the Republicans say "Yes" to Night Clubs

    March 29, 2010 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  19. mike wilson

    Dem's are morally bankrupt and have been for years. They just can't wait for the slightest bit of impropriety on the other side so they can point and say "see you're just as bad as we are." Nice try but even you know the truth.

    March 29, 2010 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  20. Wmscot

    Well I am not going to say that i have not visited a club or two in my time but if I tried to expence it I would be fired on the spot !
    I hope my boss who took me at least tried ! Oh yea I am one of those liberal guys !

    March 29, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. STLouisGal values for sure! I'm sure they'll find a way to blame this on President Obama since they try it with everything else.

    March 29, 2010 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. johndo

    keep it up Mike you have no Idea..........

    March 29, 2010 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Jason

    Erik Brown finally got caught. Trust me this is just the tip of the iceberg. This guy is about as corrupt as they come. Don't let the Christian conservative family values thing fool you!

    March 29, 2010 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  24. bennie new york

    Yet another crack in the false image of Republicans as the guardians of traditional values.

    March 29, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. once upon a horse

    don't really know what's worse...the GOP getting caught doing something like this OR their defenders that come here trying to find Democrats that did something similiar in the past or even bringing up John Edwards!! Come on folks WRONG is WRONG and trying to make excuses and point fingers is so...well so Palin of you!

    March 29, 2010 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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