Fired staffer improperly reimbursed $2,000 bar tab, RNC says

March 31, 2010|By Kathleen Hennessey | Tribune newspapers

WASHINGTON — — The Republican National Committee employee fired in the fallout over a nearly $2,000 bar tab at a risque Los Angeles nightclub was Allison Meyers, a finance department staffer, according to a GOP source.

A committee spokesman did not return calls about the expense on Tuesday, a day after the RNC acknowledged it was investigating the use of committee money to pay for an outing at the Voyeur West Hollywood. The club features bondage and sadomasochistic scenes, according to its owner.

Party officials said the money for the Jan. 31 outing was reimbursed to Erik Brown, president of a California company that has provided direct-mail services to political campaigns. Brown footed the bill at the club and was improperly told by a staffer that he would be reimbursed, according to a statement issued Monday.

Meyers, who could not be reached for comment, would not have been the only RNC staffer to approve the expense. Expenses at the committee required approval from a department head as well as an administration official, the Republican source said.

The incident comes amid questions over the leadership of RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor, who has been criticized as spending lavishly on hotels and travel. He also made headlines for casting doubt on the party's chances of winning control of the House of Representatives in November.

"I think that had a chilling effect on me and other guys I've talked to," said Brian Ballard, a major Republican donor. "If that's not what they're there to do, I don't know what is."

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