RNC Reacts to Racy Spending at WeHo Nightclub

RNC spokesman: "The committee has received a commitment that the money will be returned."

By Jonathan Lloyd and Olsen Ebright
|  Tuesday, Mar 30, 2010  |  Updated 10:42 AM PDT
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What does $2,000 buy at Voyeur nightclub? Ask the Republican National Committee.

What does $2,000 buy at Voyeur nightclub? Ask the Republican National Committee.

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Check out Voyeur on Yelp and it may be a bit too racy for the average Angeleno.

"Naked chicks plus live porn plus celebs. What more could a girl ask for?" says one reviewer.

Another notes the "topless 'dancers' acting out S&M scenes."

One of the more timid reviews reads: "Sexy, dark, mysterious, and provocative. Words that describes the beginning of a good night..."

Technically, they're also words that describe the latest headache for the Republican National Committee.

A $1,946.25 transaction for "meals" shows up on a Feb. 4 expense report filed with the Federal Election Commission. The expenditure was mentioned in a Daily Caller article that described the club as "a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex."

Heidi Klum hosted her Halloween party there last year, too. Voyeur occupies a space that formerly housed the sexed-up Peanuts dance club and Grandville in the 1990s.

The FEC report links the expenditure to Erik Brown of Orange, although the Daily Caller report suggested RNC Chairman Michael Steele was involved with the expense.

In response, the RNC released a statement discrediting the report:

"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."

A committee spokesman told CNN on Monday that Brown would return the money.

"The committee has received a commitment that the money will be returned," the spokesman told CNN.

CNN identified Brown as the president of the Orange County-based Dynamic Marketing, Inc.

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.

"It was not anything sanctioned by the committee, and that is why we have requested an investigation. Obviously, given the location, it's something that's not appropriate," RNC spokesman Doug Heye told the Washington Post.

The only real crime here is the characterization of club Voyeur. It has been called many things -- bondage-themed, S&M-themed, sex-themed, an RNC hang-out -- but it is definitely not a strip club.

"We are most certainly not a strip club," Sarah Waldman, the director of special events at Voyeur, told the New York Times. "We cater to a high-end, A-list clientele with live art installations with a voyeuristic theme."

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