WASHINGTON - The Republican National Committee has fired a staffer who helped organize a $1,946 visit last month to a sex-themed Hollywood club, and the GOP says it will recoup the money from a donor who also participated.
The episode is the latest in a string of questionable spending by the RNC as Republicans prepare for a costly election season in which they hope to take dozens of House and Senate seats from Democrats.
An RNC memo says the Jan. 31 outing to Voyeur West Hollywood involved several members of the "Young Eagles" GOP group who had been in Los Angeles for a meeting. An unnamed staffer, who had been warned that such activities did not qualify for reimbursement, has been fired, said the memo from RNC chief of staff Ken McKay.
The club features topless dancers and bondage outfits. It's meant to be "risque and provocative" and "a combination of intimidation and sexuality," one of its partners, David Koral, told the Los Angeles Times in October.
RNC spokesman Doug Heye said the committee will be reimbursed by Erik Brown of Orange, Calif., the donor-vendor who billed the GOP for the club visit on behalf of the attendees.
Brown did not respond to an e-mail and phone message seeking comment.
Since November, the RNC has paid Brown's company, Dynamic Marketing Inc., about $19,000 for printing and direct-mail services, campaign spending reports show. He has contributed several thousand dollars to the party.
The most recent financial disclosure report said the RNC spent more than $17,000 for private planes in February and nearly $13,000 for car services. Heye said such services are used only when needed.
McKay's memo says the RNC is committed to using donors' funds efficiently and responsibly.