Early reports yesterday suggested that Michael Steele, RNC chairman, was in hot water for a $2000 charge to a topless bondage-themed club. Further reporting has clarified that Michael Steele was not at the club but is in hot water for authorizing the charge. Personally, the $2000 at the strip club was the least appalling in my opinion. Republicans pride themselves on fiscal discipline and morality. In the midst of what is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the RNC is spending money for private jets, limousines and other luxury items. I understand it is important to throw swanky parties in order to get high-end donors to open their wallets. This seems to be more of the hypocrisy that is the Republican Party. Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that Democrats are better. I’m saying that Democrats don’t portray themselves as having morality and more fiscal responsibility than anyone else.
From First Read:
“During a February RNC trip to Los Angeles, a $1,946.25 tab was racked up at Voyeur, a West Hollywood nightclub that features topless dancers and has been a hangout for Lindsay Lohan and other celebs,” the New York Post writes. “A red-faced spokesman for the RNC said the group was reclaiming the cash from a donor who wrongly got reimbursed, and said the expenses were improper in the first place. He said RNC Chairman Michael Steele didn’t go to the nightclub… Voyeur features a net suspended from the ceiling where topless women perform, and a glass booth with even racier performances, according to reviews.”
The Washington Post: “The RNC spent more than $17,000 on private jet travel in February as well as nearly $13,000 for limousines and car services, and also ran up tabs at luxe hotels including the Beverly Hills Hotel ($9,000); the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons ($6,600) and the W Hotel in Washington ($15,000). The GOP’s controversial midwinter meeting in Hawaii ended up costing the party $43,000 in expenses, not including airfare, the records show. Steele has come under steady fire for his financial stewardship of the organization. The RNC had more than $22 million on hand when Steele arrived last year, but is down to under $10 million now despite raising $96 million during that time, records show.”
The RNC “fired an unidentified staff member as a result of the disbursement and emphasized Monday that Steele had not visited the club and was not aware of the expenditure. The reimbursement went to Erik Brown, a Southern California GOP donor who has spent time with Steele in the past and whose marketing firm has earned more than $160,000 from the RNC and other Republican committees, according to campaign disclosure records.”
The New York Times profiles the club: “High-end strip clubs here — where patrons shell out hundreds in “bottle fees” to sip vodka and Champagne and watch women conduct all manner of business — are a far cry from their hole-in-the-wall-with-a-stripper-pole counterparts in small cities. The clubs are often used by high rollers, couples and celebrities as hang-out spots to see, be seen and, well, see a lot more. And in Los Angeles, strip clubs are often at the crossroads of acting, modeling and a job that pays the bills… ‘The dancers are beautiful, and the S-and-M show was fantastic,’ a reviewer from Washington wrote on Yelp.com. ‘Wish we had places like this back in D.C.!'”
The New York Daily News‘ lead: “Talk about grand ol’ partying.”
The Hill: “Monday’s news fit into a long-running storyline about heavy spending. The committee suffers from a high burn rate. It spent about $15 million more than it raised under Steele last year, and in February it continued to lose money. Steele has drawn heat for spending $18,500 to redecorate his personal office, and for increasing spending on chartered flights and limousines. It was also rereported Monday that Steele was looking into buying a private jet.”