Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Party Of "Whoa!"

Well, well, well...I suppose the only encouraging thing that can be said about this is that it's not money spent on little boys:

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is in the hot seat after reports of a spending spree on the organization's payroll, including a controversial fundraiser at a Hollywood strip club.

It's the sort of lavish spending that sounds as though it would have taken place in better economic times -- $17,000 for private jet travel, $13,000 for limousines and car services and $9,000 for a trip to the Beverly Hills hotel.

But what the RNC is probably taking criticism for the most is a nearly $2,000 fundraiser on RNC's dime at Voyeur West Hollywood, a risque nightclub in Los Angeles. The expenses were not racked up by Steele but by staffer Erik Brown in the name of entertaining young Republicans. The strip joint is modeled on the 1999 movie "Eyes Wide Shut" and includes women acting out voyeuristic scenes in live art installations. Brown, a Republican operative and president of California-based Dynamic Marketing Inc., said he would reimburse the RNC for the $1,946.25 bill he racked up.

Nothing like starting the young'uns out early, eh? Soon, they'll graduate to the hard stuff: men's rest rooms in Minneapolis airports or Florida parks, diapers, and long walks in the forests  of Argentina.

Steele claims he had no prior knowledge of the outing...er, pardon the pun...to Voyeur. I tend to believe him. After all, you get a young aide who is suddenly flush with power and status who probably bragged to his friends the fun they could have on the party dime and didn't check with the boss because, you know, Republicans don't have to check with authority figures: they're all about being the exception to the rules.
Here's the curious bit, however. Brown didn't use RNC funds for the evening. He put out...er, again, pardon the pun...of his own pocket and was reimbursed by the RNC, and THEN the shit hit the fan, meaning that someone in the finance office had to review the sheet and OK the reimbursement.
Which makes the RNC statement all the more bizarre:

Steele "had no knowledge of the expenditure, nor does he find the use of committee funds at such a location acceptable," RNC's communications director Doug Heye said in a statement Monday. "Upon finding out of the expenditure this morning, Chairman Steele demanded the committee get to the bottom of this matter immediately."

"The committee has taken appropriate steps to address the issues relating to the reimbursement of certain expenses," Heye added. "It is unfortunate that a loyal GOP donor who has recruited other donors became involved in this incident while merely trying to help what turned out to be the improper request of a staffer who is no longer with the committee."

The expense report was filed with the FEC as part of their monthly accountability to the Commission, and it was only after that group released the report to the general public and the expense highlighted in Blogtopia (© Skippy) that the expenditure was "noticed" by the RNC and action taken. This comes at the tail end of many reports critical of Steele's spending habits, which has seen the RNC's bank account dwindle from $22 million to $10 million, despite raising over $95 million since Barack Obama took office in 2009, which is a record for fundraising by either party.

Please. Teabaggers. Don't make this party fold its tents. It's too good a source of comedy!