From The Los Angeles Times:
The Republican National Committee is investigating the expenditure of nearly $2,000 in party funds at a racy West Hollywood nightclub, a party spokesman said Monday.
RNC spokesman Doug Heye acknowledged that the party had reimbursed Erik Brown, president of a Southern California firm that has provided direct mail services to political campaigns, for a Jan. 31 outing at Voyeur West Hollywood.
The club, inspired by the film “Eyes Wide Shut,” is intended to be “risque and provocative” and “a combination of intimidation and sexuality,” one of its partners, David Koral, told The Times in October.
In a statement and in an interview Monday night, the RNC said an unidentified staff member was fired for telling Brown he would be reimbursed for the expenditure.
An RNC official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he did not know whose idea it was to go to that particular nightclub.
The expenditure is listed in a monthly campaign finance report and was first reported by the Daily Caller website.
It was unclear how many people were with Brown or who they were, but Heye said RNC Chairman Michael Steele was not among them.
Steele “immediately determined that we need to find out exactly the why and the how so it doesn’t happen again,” Heye said. “His reaction was one of anger.”
But the episode added to questions about Steele’s management. He has drawn criticism for earning outside income through paid speeches, antagonized conservative icons and been embarrassed by disclosure of an internal GOP fundraising document suggesting that certain donors are motivated by fear and ego.
Heye said he had gotten “a commitment” from Brown to repay the money.
A call left for Brown at his company, Dynamic Marketing of Orange, was not returned. He is not employed by the RNC, although he once mentioned by way of a tweet that he attended a Washington Redskins football game with Steele.
Steele has been criticized by some Republican donors over what they see as excessive spending.
In the same monthly report that disclosed the nightclub visit, the RNC is shown to have spent nearly $11,000 on limousine services, and thousands more in lodging at high-end hotels in Las Vegas, Beverly Hills and New York.
About $400 spent at a liquor store on Capitol Hill was classified in the report as “office supplies.” A person answering the phone at Congressional Liquors said the store sells no office supplies.
Heye said hotel expenses covered fundraising events that were “entirely proper.”
A spokesman for the Democratic National Committee took the opportunity to tweak the RNC.
“This controversy shouldn’t give voters much confidence in Republicans when they say they want to be put back in charge of federal spending,” the DNC’s Hari Sevugan said.
But Republicans were more likely to be worried about how their conservative base would react.
Concerned Women for America, which describes itself as a conservative Christian group that promotes biblical values, issued a statement saying it was “dismayed” that the RNC had reimbursed Brown.
Well, there’s a good reason they reimbursed Brown. From Wonkette:
Wonkette pal (and your editor’s former editor at LA CityBeat) Rebecca Schoenkopf sends this note regarding Erik Brown, the Orange County GOP donor now taking the fall for the RNC’s $2,000 sexytime at West Hollywood’s Club Voyeur bondage-lesbian den of debauchery:
I know Erik Brown really well; we used to do a radio show together. He is the most uptight, constipated conservative Christian ever, and while that may sound like a perfect candidate for the topless lesbian thing, there is simply NO FUCKING WAY it was he. That kind of shit would make him cry for his mommy. He is clearly, CLEARLY the fall guy on this.
Okay, so this proves that …. Erik Brown was set up to take the fall by the RNC, by that sleazebag operator Michael Steele, because somebody’s got to take the fall. We’ve got to have a fall guy, the GOP needs a victim, somebody they can pin those Voyeur Club expenses on, the end.
From THE HUFFINGTON POST:
The RNC has fired Allison Meyers, director of the group’s “Young Eagles” program, in the wake of Monday’s news that she had approved the reimbursement of a hefty tab racked up at a bondage-themed L.A. nightclub.
It’s unclear if these actions will be enough to appease the Republicans who were calling for a pound of flesh earlier on Monday. As reported by the Huffington Post, Douglas MacKinnon, former press secretary to Majority Leader Robert Dole, had harsh words for the RNC’s top man.
“No matter which side of the aisle you find yourself, if you are giving a political party your hard-earned money, you should have no doubts that it is going to be spent as advertised and not to provide a spoiled, egocentric, out-of-touch chairman with frivolous luxuries which are out of reach of the vast majority of the American people. Michael Steele needs to resign and let the RNC vote in a man or woman who understands that his or her needs do not come before the needs of the nation or the party.”
So, poor schmucky Erik Brown was publicly humiliated so that the RNC would have a fall guy. That should be punishment enough, right? From Ballot Box at THE HILL:
Former clients are distancing themselves from Erik Brown, the California-based consultant in the spotlight for billing the Republican National Committee for a trip to a risqué Los Angeles nightclub.
California Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R), who’s running for Senate, announced Monday he “has severed all ties” with Brown’s consulting firm, Dynamic Marketing, Inc (DMI).
The DeVore camp had been using DMI to print some campaign letterhead, signs and stickers, it said in a release. Their business dealings “ended some weeks ago when we contracted with a different printer, and will not resume.”
So Erik Brown is nothing more than Kinko’s to Chuck DeVore, but ol’ Chuckie feels the need to take all his business away from the sap who was used and abused (because apparently, the Rethugs enjoy watching people being tortured) by the national committee of his own party?