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Voyeur West Hollywood: GOP Spent Funds At Club, Lavish Hotels [UPDATE]

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The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong has basically won the morning with a story about RNC Chairman Michael Steele's lavish lifestyle on the road. Strong reports that Steele "once raised the possibility of using party money to buy a private jet for his travel," and has run up some substantial tabs at some of our nation's nicest hotels. But if you ask me, he sort of buried the lede... probably strategically! Because look what awaits you in paragraph six:

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Oh, wow, awesome. Note that Strong's done his due diligence on the amount spent. As of this writing, Voyeur's website is not loading, probably because every single staff member of the Democratic National Committee is currently on the site, looking for images of Steele in the champagne room. But check out some of the Yelp testimonials:

The girl at the door sent us in right away and told us to go to a table by the bar and get some free Champagne. Seriously. This club is amazing. There are topless "dancers" acting out S&M scenes throughout the night on one of the side stages, there's a half-naked girl hanging from a net across the ceiling and at one point I walked to the bathroom and pretty much just stopped dead in my tracks to watch two girls simulating oral sex in a glass case.

Really understated elegance here.

Also, Lindsay Lohan was at our table at one point.

Other relatively recent reviews testify to Voyeur being something of a "velvet rope" type of place -- more a haven for celebrities to dip their toes into some sanitized version of outre culture than an out-and-out bondage club. Like a Ruby Tuesday of gothic sex at which you might see Mickey Rourke.

Strong focuses primarily on Steele in his article, noting that he declined requests for an interview. He reports a fair share of off-the-record, internecine disgruntlement, however:

Complaints, almost always expressed off the record, have been bitter. "This is not somebody who is out recruiting candidates," said an aide who worked closely with Steele. "He is not meeting with donors. He's not asking for money. The guy is writing his book or doing his speaking gigs, or whatever the hell else he fills his days with. Those are his priorities."

Well, maybe he is recruiting some very unique candidates?

Take a look at more of the RNC's lavish spending habits:

Michael Steele's Lavish Spending: Where The RNC Spent Its Money
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UPDATE: Greg Sargent says the RNC is undertaking an investigation of the Voyeur West Hollywood expenditures, and has been quick to establish that Steele was not the patron in question. A statement from the RNC reads thusly:

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."

Elsewhere, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jay Bookman wonders if Steele has finally "run out of lives as RNC Chair." And earlier this year, former White House official/Bob Dole spokesman Doug MacKinnon sounded alarms, slamming Steele (along with Florida Governor Charlie Crist), for "reckless and self-indulgent behavior" and for placing a higher priority on promoting his "ego-centric book."

FURTHER UPDATE: Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller has identified Erik Brown as the staffer reimbursed for the RNC-funded escapade. Brown owns Dynamic Marketing Inc. a marketing and consulting firm recently linked to California GOP gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, and has apparently attended an NFL football game with RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Tucker Carlson, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the Daily Caller, responded to RNC complaints about this morning's article, saying:

Our questions remain: Why did the committee spend more than $17,000 on private jets in the month of February? How and why was RNC business conducted in a bondage-themed nightclub, and how and why were the nearly $2,000 in charges that resulted approved by RNC staff?

RELATED:
High flyer: RNC Chairman Steele suggested buying private jet with GOP funds [The Daily Caller]

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