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. Avg Guy in Red State Kansas

    Let's hear it for the hypocrisy of the GOP's "family values". What a bunch of low life. The GOP has turned into a sad charicature of itself.

    Thanks, Mr. Steele. You've given the Tea Party folks another round of aammo to use against you in November thus enhancing the Democratic Party's chances of hanging onto both houses of Congress.

    What a bunch of simpletons!

    March 29, 2010 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. rs

    THAT'S family values in action...

    March 29, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Steph

    This from the fiscally conservative, family values party. The GOP sure does run a tight ship. We should let them run our country.....Wait, we already did that. They turned a surplus into a deficit and got us into (but not out of) two wars.

    March 29, 2010 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  4. Wendy

    Just another example of the "Family Values" party and their hypocrisy! They don't mind pissing away money for "entertainment", sex and wars, but don't ask them to contribute their fair share to health care!

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. Patsy, Texas

    Wow, this guy needs to be fired. Send him to Republican Purity School
    so he can say he has been cleansed. You know, there is no room in
    the GOP for cursing, having affairs, attending questionable
    places, etc. unless, of course, you are a............Senator????

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  6. dave denver

    Wow, two postings on this. You have already given equal coverage to this story and the whole John Edwards affair. No bias there at CNN.

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Eva

    OK.....which is worse? The nightclub being paid for by the GOP or democrat John Edwards fathering an illegitimate child with his lover as his wife struggles with cancer? Weigh that one.

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Tom C

    Ooooooooops he got caught!!!!

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  9. MikeMaz

    My problem with this is less about what they did, although that is not a great use of funds LOL but the Republicans always run on this moral/religious highground and they are constantly caught with the proverbial pants down. Maybe the conservatives should be a little less judgemental.

    March 29, 2010 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. walleye

    So much for the party of Christian Values.

    March 29, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  11. The Calabash Kid

    Now we want to know who was being entertained. I have a feeling that this guy's guest list would be pretty interesting.

    March 29, 2010 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  12. Newsie34

    This may very well be the coolest thing a republican has done all year.

    March 29, 2010 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. JoeVnt

    Sounds like they found a fall guy. This is the party that wants to legislate my morality??? Bunch of phonies!

    March 29, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Ben in Texas

    GOP = Party of No Clothes, perhaps?

    Yeah, this kind of stuff is funny and ironic and happens about once a week for the Repugnants. The not-so-funny part is that they do the same thing, on a gigantic scale, to the tax payer. Two thousand dollars at the strip club in one night is nothing compared to the hundreds of billions they spend on killing people in foreign countries.

    We must never let them get into power again. Then, we'll only have to deal with bumbling, inept Democrats, not vicious, greedy Repugnants.

    March 29, 2010 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. John

    California Republican returning RNC money after racy club visit

    Only because he got caught.

    March 29, 2010 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Pat in Omaha

    Gotta love the GOP......
    Can you imagine what they'd do with this kind of news if it had been the Democrats??

    March 29, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  17. GaryB

    I think this was the Republican stimulus package they've been talking about. You know, the one that's supposed to be better than the tax cuts, extended unemployment benefits and infrastructure spending that the Democrats passed last year.

    March 29, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. Edward Veidt

    Family values!

    March 29, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  19. Rob

    The headline read "Thousands Spent" vs. $1,946.25, which isn't even two "thousands". The headline in and of itself is misleading and then some. Moreover, donations to the RNC are not tax-deductible. I guess the real purpose was to try to link Steele to a risque nightclub and play that angle out for days into weeks to take the focus off the fallout over Obama's health care bill post-signing "we didn't cover for that one, either," oopsies. I guess since the democrats haven't focused on real day and night jobs, selling yellow journalism like this is all you can get in journalism today. "Thousands spent!" - LOL!

    March 29, 2010 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Ahmad

    How that transparency working for you?

    March 29, 2010 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. Terry

    It was just an oversight? Right, no wrong. Oh, I forgot, the moral minority.

    March 29, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. JA/TN

    what do you call that, misappropriations or plain old staling

    March 29, 2010 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  23. Wisconsonite - Repeal & Replace the Republican Party!

    When is the GOP going to dump Steele???

    March 29, 2010 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. so what?

    Hahaha... enough said! bunch of hypocrites!

    March 29, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. paul

    Well here we go again. Uncle Michael "Tom" Steele screwing things as usual. After he is thrown out as GOP chairman I am sure he would be fabulous for comedy movies, "The Three Stooges" type.

    March 29, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
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