Michael Steele, Living Large

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The Daily Caller examines the Republican National Committee’s FEC filings, and discovers a few things that are not likely to go over well with GOP donors. Such as:

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 at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

UPDATE: RNC Communications Director Doug Heye responds to (but does not exactly deny) several points in the story.:

“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 an individual not on committee staff. 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.”

Regarding the story itself, it is riddled with misleading information and inaccuracies.

1. Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a “plan” to buy a plane. “I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed.” – This was during our off the record conversation Friday, yet the reporter included it on the record.

2. Steele’s office repeatedly refused to explain in specific terms the circumstances of the February charter flights. – This is factually inaccurate. I personally told the reporter on Friday about the specific flights.

3. Steele himself declined numerous interview requests. This is factually inaccurate. Steele himself never declined anything; I did.

4. The piece repeated talks about “Steele’s expenses,” when quite often they are finance/fundraising expenses and not just for the expenditure in question. Though I made a clear distinction with Jonathan, his story fails to do so.