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. Alex in Wisconsin

    Like i said in my last post, let these republicans go have their fun. it aint easy pretending to care about average americans. We know that they aren't saints...heck, they aren't even respectable. so lets stop treating them as such and move on to more important stories. I hear Sarah Palin bashed the president again.....

    PS, most democrats aren't respectable either. so when i hear about them going out to clubs that display masked naked women, i will say the same thing. of course it is interesting that i haven't heard any such stories in awhile. oh well, lets blame the media and move on with our lives.

    March 29, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. Rush To Judgement

    Let me apply my "bleeding heart liberal" viewpoint to this , although this REPUBLICAN probably does not deserve to benefit from it.

    ... did this guy break any laws ?
    ... was any money embezzled?

    If not, move on.

    Now, applying a traditional Republican techniques ... was this West Hollywood club ... which has "gay areas" ... a gay club? Is Steele gay? Is Steele married and gay??? Has he been unfaithful???

    March 29, 2010 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |

    And this is the party always complaining about "wasteful spending".

    March 29, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  4. PEDRO

    Ohh yeah, using party money for lap dances isn't right. I guess he just forgot that at the time. Well, we'll give him a pass cause he's one of those family values, common sense Repugnicans.

    March 29, 2010 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. GOP

    Finally..... the GOP said YES! to something.

    March 29, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  6. Josh

    What a bunch of shameless people. The republicans are so busy trying to disrupt the recovery of our nations most serious recession since the great depression. Instead they are not watching what is going on in their own party headquarters. They are being robbed blind by their on party members. Good for them.

    March 29, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. Bobbie in Maryland (Could I PLEASE get out of moderation???)

    HA! HA!! Rethigs are a bunch of hypocrites!

    March 29, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Yeah Right

    Something smells fishy. It sounds like a cover up for Steele.

    March 29, 2010 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Jk

    What a scumbag! The Gop has enough problems, without having to worry about people pretty much stealing donor funds for their own seedy purposes!

    March 29, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Sue

    Yes, let us DEFINITELY bring this up---as well as the reports of Democrats spending money as well at "racy" clubs in New York.

    I can't wait until the reports about the Democrats are released!!!!

    March 29, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  11. CR

    The Party of "family values" strikes again. Why would anyone give money to these clowns?

    March 29, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. Kate

    They are forgiven! They are conservative Christians! Is this being conservative????????OMG if this was the dems.......they wouldn't stop talking!!

    March 29, 2010 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |

    Wow, here's a real shocker, the family values party spending $2,000.00 at a strip club. Is anybody really surprised by the party of hypocrites?

    March 29, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. C from middle GA

    where there's enough guilt to send the money back...

    March 29, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  15. Margi

    I smell a cover-up

    March 29, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. Susan Thomas

    They're supposed to be the "conservative" right-wing party, the party of morals and family values. The question isn't why did the party pay for it, the question is, WHY WERE THEY THERE????

    March 29, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. Michelle

    What no comments from the conservatives noting Democratic committee monies spent on racy entertainment?'re looking into it and "will get back to you." Instead of wasting your time, why not compliment the FBI (Obama's FBI) on their arrests of these militia men fueled by Palin's hate speeches? I don't know, but I think he's doing a fine job keeping us safe...of course, no credit is allowed from the right, because we all know that Obama in reality is trying to ruin this country. Or else, they'll be mad about this because these people are no longer free to terrorize with the right's sacred guns.

    March 29, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. joe

    i wonder how this will be the liberals fault.

    March 29, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. JasonK

    The statement steele was not at the club would only imply that he was hanging from the ceiling at the club

    March 29, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. Jesse

    This is the first story I have heard in some time that might make me consider becoming a Republican.

    March 29, 2010 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Roz

    Typical closet sex addicts..............they hide in Conservative ranks just like Mr. Jim Baker and Jimmy Swaggert. Once again I ask – am I supposed to be surprised??? And for all you Red Devil Republicans, I am equally disgusted by Clinton's inability to keep his pants on with Monica and John Edwards horrific betrayal of his wife. Power = sex and money. And the women who service them are equally guilty. Humans will never learn to stop their stupid human tricks. In fact, you can eliminate ignorance, but you can't heal "stupid".

    March 29, 2010 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  22. JuL

    Both sides are so corrupt that this does not surprise me a bit. The right is acting like a bunch of children right now, evidenced by the baseless name calling on these blogs and the left is gloating over their recent "victory" like a bunch of kids who just won a game of dodge ball. Other than the President (yes, I mean Obama, the legally elected president that you may or may not agree with, but who IS your president here in the real world, not your Fox fantasy world), there aren't any rational adults left in politics.

    March 29, 2010 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. LKN Raging

    I'm certain the funds would have been returned whether or not this story broke. No doubt the sneering hyprocrisy, bald-faced deceit and withering condescension manifestly evident in the RNC's behavior are all somehow, some way and in some manner . . . President Obama's fault.

    "Just LOOK at the things he makes us do! Gawd, I need a body shot and a lap dance!!!"

    Heckuva job, Brownie.

    March 29, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Joe

    Who cares

    March 29, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Brian phoenix

    So much for the party of "family values" LOL

    March 29, 2010 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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