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. Jerry Brown

    Just more of the republican's two faces.

    March 29, 2010 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Tim

    Michael Steele is an embarrassment. The best thing for the party is to immediately demand for him to step down!!! He is ruining the party. He used to be a barely adequate figure head, but he is now just a hindrance.

    March 29, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Jim Witkofsky

    Any wonder why so many conservative sites are advocating that NO $$ be sent to the RNC but directly to conservative candidates

    March 29, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  4. Beth

    Well well's that Christian touchy-feely-we love God thing working out for ya? *wink*

    March 29, 2010 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  5. JR

    I used to read Dilbert everyday for a laugh, now I just hunt up news about the GOP...

    March 29, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Lana Westcott

    Nice, because if they return the money, it never happened.

    March 29, 2010 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  7. Trent

    How does something like this get approved for reimbursement? What did he submit to the RNC that qualified it? "Guy's night out"? Wouldn't you think to question this? This is beyond belief. I think this consultant should be tried for fraud.

    March 29, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. puzzled

    This stinks to high heaven. Why is he being reimbursed by the RNC for charges at this club if he wasn't doing business with and for the RNC? Where there is smoke there is fire. Hypocrits.

    March 29, 2010 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Kathy in CT


    Family values and all that.

    A GOP commentator on another site said "Well donors don't want to settle for free waffles and coffee at the Holiday Inn Express."

    Well DUH - do they want their dollars going to sex clubs and Sarah Palin's wardrobe??

    March 29, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  10. Preco

    Leather and Steele!!! My oh Mine!

    March 29, 2010 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Jim

    Good old Republican family values!

    March 29, 2010 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. hoaxusa

    So what else is new. Both parties have been doing this for years. Why is CNN just reporting about the GOP? Sure glad I am independent. That way neither party can blame me for what they voted for. Ignoramouses?

    March 29, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. mabel floyd

    looks like another "family values" person has gotten caught with his real values showing. another c-street church member perhaps?
    vitter the prostitutes favorite clinet–ennis protesting against clinton while cheating on his wife and family-sandford--dancing down the argentina way while ducking his duty as the gov–cheating on his wife and children (it was father's day) with his "soul mate."
    all of the above are members of the c-street "church" must make their mother's and their children proud–not to mention all the money alaska spent making "sarah baby" their gov only to have her throw it back in their face to make herself a "star" and to make herself lots of money.
    don't you love these "family values" people? they do pick the strangest
    role models

    March 29, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. kathy

    i'm not certain whay anyone but the rnc cares where their money is spent. if they didn't think it inappropriate, so be it. who cares...

    March 29, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Blaze&Brads Excellent Adventure

    Steeel and his consultants treat the RNC as their own little cash cow. This isn't about electing republicans, it's about how much money they can suck out of the building and into their pockets. Last month they spent more than they brought in! When will the committee wake up and realize they are being looted?

    March 29, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Regis from Plantation FL

    Well , Well Well another great fiscal conservative value !!!!!! Why not Steel , we all know the republikans are true Christians people. Now I know why so many idiots are still voting for republicans: the great Hypocrisy. No wonder why they can’t balance a budget.

    March 29, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Ejaz

    Family value!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  18. bmw

    So the RNC found a fall guy – he'll likely rise quickly through the ranks of this incredibly corrupt political party.

    March 29, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Real-Repub

    Mr. Steele is an embarassment to the Party. He has no original ideas but rather bows to the wishes of the radical right noise makers, Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck et al. He also refuses to disavow Ms. Palin whose continued public appearances are an embarrassment to any Reagan Republican.

    March 29, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. JonBoy

    But was Steele at the club before or after the charges were made?

    March 29, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Gorbashov - Long Beach, Ca.

    "The RNC said Steele was no at the club WHEN the charges were made". Yeah, he had just left! LOL

    March 29, 2010 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    Gotta just love those "Christian conservatives" that espouse such wholesome "family values"....Those rich, white, southern God-fearing conservative donors must just love putting up money for these types of shananigans......This is absolutely hilarious!!

    March 29, 2010 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. Maxwell K

    What's the problem? The Republicans are promoting the "trickle down" economy.

    March 29, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. Morton

    These republicans get sleezier by the day!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2010 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. tom

    Oh, the party of "family values" strikes again! LOL!!!!!

    March 29, 2010 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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