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March 29, 2010

RNC Denies Steele Expensed Trip to X-Rated Club

The Democratic National Committee is having a field day Monday at the expense of its cross-town rivals at the RNC--or the "Risque National Committee," as the Dems put it in one of the blizzard of e-mailed releases they are sending out.

It started overnight when a politically themed blog, The Daily Caller, released the latest report about RNC Chairman Michael Steele's spending habits and his affinity for flying private jets at party expense.

The story also said that Steele dropped more than $15,000 of committee money on a recent trip to the Los Angeles area.

Included in the RNC's report for February spending was $1,946.25 for "meals" at Voyeur West Hollywood, which the online article said was a "bondage themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex."

The Daily Caller says the FEC filings "suggest" that "Steele travels in style." From there it wasn't much of a leap for the DNC to send out emails stating that "Yes, it appears that Michael Steele spent RNC money" at the nightclub.

No way to know, from the monthly RNC filing (all 2,500 pages), just who was there.

The line immediately above the expense in question in the FEC report provides a clue.

It contains a payment to Erik Brown, at an address in Orange, California, who was reimbursed for the $1,946.25.

Brown is a Republican direct mail consultant (his business address is the one on the FEC report). He did not immediately respond to a telephone call from The Baltimore Sun.

In a follow-up item, the Daily Caller reported that Brown appears to be close to Steele: In October, Brown wrote on Twitter, “Enjoying the football game with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (Eagles vs Redskins at FedEx Field)”.

Read more

Doug Heye, the RNC's chief spokesman, has issued the following statement:

“We are investigating the expenditure in question. The story willfully and erroneously suggests that the expenditure in question was one belonging to the Chairman. This was a reimbursement made to a non-committee staffer. The Chairman was never at the location in question, he had no knowledge of the expenditure, nor does he find the use of committee funds at such a location at all acceptable. Good reporting would make that distinction crystal clear. The committee has requested that the monies be returned to the committee and that the story be corrected so that it is accurate.”

The RNC said the Daily Caller story was "riddled with misleading information and inaccuracies."

According to the RNC, referring to specific passages in the story:

1. Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a “plan” to buy a plane. “I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed.” – This was during our off the record conversation Friday, yet the reporter included it on the record.
2. Steele’s office repeatedly refused to explain in specific terms the circumstances of the February charter flights. – This is factually inaccurate. I personally told the reporter on Friday about the specific flights.
3. Steele himself declined numerous interview requests. This is factually inaccurate, Steele himself never declined anything; I did.
4. The piece repeated talks about “Steele’s expenses,” when quite often they are finance/fundraising expenses and not just for the expenditure in question. Though I made a clear distinction with Jonathan, his story fails to do so.

The Daily Caller was founded in January by Tucker Carlson, a Fox News veteran, as a counter
to liberal online sites like the Huffington Post.

Posted by Paul West at 2:00 PM | | Comments (22)


Ahhh, the smell of denial in the morning... With a strong whiff of hypocrisy to boot... What "morality"! What wonderful "family values"! Why not hold the next GOP convention at the "Voyeur West Hollywood" -- by then their ranks will be so low they'd fit into such a tiny venue.

Here is the Micahel Steele growth chart for those keeping score:

2002: Goes to PG County during the 2002 campaign telling voters that he is Bob Ehrlich, paying young people to wear t-shirts with his picture saying "Bob Ehrlich for Governor. Then he slanders the students of Morgan State with tales of Oreo throwing that could only be corraborated by the Steele family (although he blasts Democrats for politicizing acts of violence today).

2006: Michael Steel seeks a seat in the US Senate by telling voters that he is actually a Democrat.

2010: Steele sends out RNC fundraising letters disguised as Census forms

And now this latest episode of voyerism from the party of "family values." Why does Michael Steele and the Republican party continue to pretend to be something they're not?

I supposed that if this were a liberal it would be considered his private life and life style. ((ahem..Barney Frank, Bill Clinton to name just a few))
But this is conversation about a Republican who happens to be black and so they must attempt to destroy this Uncle Tom, to coin THEIR words.

In any event, this story is a load of lies.

This is the usual dirt we've come to expect from the Obama Propaganda Machine and it's so OBVIOUS!!!! They think all they have to do is say it , without proof and we'll believe it. I don't believe anything from left wing press or WH or Conress or Democrat Socialist Party.

Republicans are pigs! Vote these perverts out of office!

Hey, Josh!

I was at Morgan State and got hit by the Oreos - that was not fiction, and I can provide others that witnessed and/or experiennced it.

Do me a favour - don't talk about things you know nothing about.

How does one get a job with the RNC?


You sound like a homophobic idiot. Barney Frank being gay is completely different from someone using committee funds to spend $1500 at a strip club. Yes, what Barney Frank chooses to do in his personal IS different from this.

Secondly, you don't "coin" someone else's words. Coining a word or phrase means to invent one yourself. And people's criticism of Steele has nothing to do with him being black. It has to do with him being a showboating blowhard.

It may be embarrassing to you, Sandra as it is to many republicans, but calling the story "lies" when it is a proven point makes you look delusional and in denial, sorta like Sarah Palin.

What I don't understand is that they reimburse these huge expenses period. If I expensed even a couple hundred dollar dinner outing I would have a lot of explaining to do. But they pay back nearly two grand and their response isn't wow, that was a lot of money but instead we don't pay for strip clubs? Apparently money is no object to them.

I was going to ask Sandra how she knew that the story about Steele's spending habits was false but when I clicked on her name it was apparent that she wasn't a person, just a link to a republican apologist site

Why would any sane person believe anything written in the Sun about Michael Steele - the same paper that defamed him when he ran for lieutenant governor by saying the only thing he had going for him was the color of his skin? Once Mr. Steele wandered off the liberal plantation he became public enemy #1 for the SUN who stooped to bigotry that would even make former Ku Klux Klan official Robert Byrd blush.

@jay - submit your life story here - - and be sure to ask about the generous fringe benefits, including the stripper and private jet allowances.

I always take dubious blog posts from a website called "The Daily Caller" as fact, without question.


Just keeping it realz, homies


You want a "favour?" Are you British? Its obvioius you're not even an American, let alone a voter. Probably some cyber-hacker hired by the GOP. If you have information to corroborate Michael Steele's obsurd story, then stop hiding behind a message board and go on the record, because nobody else will.

Someone needs to audit this Erik Brown guy, I guarantee he has a history of corruption/stealing political funds.

As a Conservative, a real Conservative, I have never been impressed with Urkel Steele. I am not a member of the GOP and this is why.

Much ado about nothing. The entire tempest in a teapot is based on poor reporting long since denied and being pressed by an overly zealous DNC interested in pushing propaganda instead of facts. The November elections can't come soon enough -- Harry Reid is toast!

Ahhhh. It's just Michael being Michael.

Family values, indeed.

Yes, the poster, Sandra, is a link to Lucianne Goldberg's site. Ms. Goldberg is the same woman who coached Linda Tripp on how to make the illegal recordings she made of Monica Lewinsky. It makes you wonder how many of the posters to these blogs -which often echo each other - are nothing more than right-wing apologist and not actual people. It's what's known as the right-wing echo chamber, folks. Any one with half a brain should be alarmed that anyone posting to these blogs and comment sections are not real people expressing real thoughts but are doing the bidding of someone else..

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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