DNC Donors Paid For Pole Dancers PLUS WH Helicopters!

March 31st, 2010 at 8:15 pm | 50 Comments |

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While RNC chairman Michael Steele faces calls of resignation for questionable expenditures — including meals at a bondage-themed nightclub — it turns out the Democratic National Committee has been spending thousands of its own donor money on luxury hotels, limos and yes, scantily clad go-go dancers, FrumForum has discovered. Further, the DNC has been hiring White House helicopters for party use, while Steele fell into more hot water for even suggesting he might need a private jet.

An investigation by FrumForum of the DNC’s travel offset filings reveals a whole host of lavish spending. Among the highlights:

  • Late last year, Democrats partied it up at D.C.’s ‘Josephine’, when they dropped $5,850. The nightclub comes complete with two stripper poles and, according to one reviewer, a “skimpily clothed go-go dancer to feast your eyes on.”
  • In just the first two months of this year, the DNC spent half a million dollars on catering, parties, lodging and limos.  This includes a staggering $278,478.12 on Hilton hotels; $143,286 on catering from Susan Gage Caterers and Avalon Caterers; $36,956 on lodging at the Mandarin Oriental in Washington, D.C.; an $11,154 event at the Kennedy Center; and about $1,500 in limo services.
  • The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spent $14,098 on car service last year. Meanwhile, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent $48,270.25 on charter flights and limousines. Democrats even spent $36,874.39 to bring in Austrian celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck three times last year.

Put perhaps the most questionable expense was the DNC’s use of the trappings of the White House for partisan purposes: $232,436.81 spent on White House helicopters and White House In-flight Services since August of last year. The DNC’s White House helicopter expenditures have been unexamined until now because, unlike the RNC, the DNC files some of their travel expenses under a different Federal Elections Commission ID than their other expenses.

There’s clearly one thing that DNC donors are getting for their money, however: a better PR effort than the Republicans — the GOP has suffered much more political harm from much less egregious behavior — which has effectively kept these figures hushed until now.

Recent Posts by Tim Mak



50 Comments so far ↓

  • CentristNYer

    None of this spending on either side surprises me. Both are excessive and both parties’ national committees need to exert tighter control. Period.

    But what makes the GOP expenditures a bit more newsworthy is that they’ve been throwing so much mud at the Democrats this last year, insisting that their spending has been out-of-control, that it makes them look particularly hypocritical. It’s like when a “family values” conservative like David Vitter or a judicial white knight like Eliot Spitzer gets caught with hookers. The optics are so much worse.

    Bottom line: get your own house in order first before you start slinging the mud. That goes for both sides.

  • Independent

    Tim, what you don’t know is that while Bill Clinton managed the Lincoln Bedroom suite for DNC and propsective Clinton Library donors (there’s something oxymoronic about using words like “library” and “Clinton” together –can the guy even read beyond a 4th grade level?), Clinton was willing to arrange escort sleep-ins for anyone so inclined.

    Charlie Sheen made great use of it plus Bill’s private stash of coke. Howie Dean was said to have demanded silk sheets for his love-fest in the Lincoln bedroom. And, famously, Barbara Streisand told WH staff to find somewhere else for her hubbie to sleep –she was bedding Slick Willy.

    Of course, silly spending by political groups have been going on for a long time. Clinton and John Edwards and John Kerry and TeddieK have all used office and campaign accounts to pay off hookers, escorts, coeds and sex therapists… the standard joke in TeddieK’s office was which monthly expense would be bigger –the hooker tab or the bar tab.

    You’re right. Michael Steele doesn’t look good even compared with these major scum bags… but then, no one thought they were electing a solid business manager when they picked Steele… they just wanted a smooth talking pol who could mug for the camera.

  • nwahs

    I’m not impressed, Tim. You threw Debbie Schlussel under the bus last week and completely ignored her second blog stating that the Hannity travel was expensed BEFORE Premiere Marketing cut off a slice of money for Freedom Alliance. NewsBusters is using your article to vindicate Premier Marketing and their 90% overhead. Not a mention from you of CREW and VoteVets complaint filed with the FTC and IRS. All that exists is some limp wristed caveat that Freedom Concerts may be “inefficient.”

    I’m not too impressed about this expose’ when its apparent there are certain individuals you won’t scrutinize.

  • aDude

    I’d be curious to know if some of those White House expenses were reimbursements for things like helicopters and Air Force One when Obama would do a purely political trip. My understanding is that when a President does a political trip the White House has to get reimbursed. I think it’s been this way for a number of decades.

    The rest of it does seem like out of control spending, though.

  • Gramps

    Beejeebus gents; who ain’t fer pole-cat dancin’…
    I am one, for certain, sure…!

    What’s problematic here… as they say, is the hypocrite temperature level…and the public conception.
    Now never mind me, yeh all hear. I fer one, like I said, am all fer it…

    What yah just gotta think about is all yer good “Christian” donors…!
    Have I stated it correctly…?

    My Daddy told me I wouldn’t never, amount to nothin’…!

  • chriscurrey

    Go-go dancers for the democrats and lesbian bondage for the republicans, and luxury hotels, and fine food–heay both are having fun with the donors’ money.

    However, the amount for the helicopters and white house services must be reimbursement for the use of AF1 and M1 when Obama uses them for political purposes.

  • Gramps

    Mind you Tim, I ain’t trying to be no stick in the mud, here…but…

    Might you have a snapshot or short synopsis of what President Bush 43 and his entourage[s] might have spent, with respect to non-reimbursed governmental transportation from 2002 to 2010…as I vaguely recall Enron provided a goodly portion of executive transportation before his second reelection?

    I guess what I’m asking is; are there any median or average usage of non-reimbursed governmental travel, housing or entertainment with respect to Presidential expenses?

    As to the expenses of the political parties [D’s and R’s]… who gives a good damn?
    Yeh gives yer money, you sorry, dimblube, airheads…they party…!

    Am I right or wrong?

    My suggestion would be…direct your political contributions toward specific candidates you know and appreciate.

    Freedom!

  • kevin47

    In somewhat related news, what is with all the nude photography and gossip items on the right sidebar? This isn’t HuffPo.

  • Gramps

    It’s like Murdocks FAUX News channel…!

    Luv it…!

  • oldleftie

    just one question to “independent”: Where did you go with your Rhodes scholarship, and from what law school did you graduate. Bill Clinton’s misdeeds, real and alleged, aside, the stupidest thing anyone could say about him is that he’s illiterate. You’re about as independent as Richard Nixon’s dog or Joe McCarthy’s booze addiction.

  • advocatusdiaboli

    I just need to repeat the well-reasoned post of CentristNYer as I have nothing of substance to add to the well-crafted first post:

    “None of this spending on either side surprises me. Both are excessive and both parties’ national committees need to exert tighter control. Period.

    But what makes the GOP expenditures a bit more newsworthy is that they’ve been throwing so much mud at the Democrats this last year, insisting that their spending has been out-of-control, that it makes them look particularly hypocritical. It’s like when a “family values” conservative like David Vitter or a judicial white knight like Eliot Spitzer gets caught with hookers. The optics are so much worse.

    Bottom line: get your own house in order first before you start slinging the mud. That goes for both sides.”

  • Gramps

    oldleftie // Apr 1, 2010 at 1:16 am

    If there’s only one thing I can’t stand it’s some “oldleftie” questioning some ephemeral olde Rhodes scholar…!
    Dimblube…!

    “There shall be a stone on the beach”…?

  • ottovbvs

    …..Were the helicopters black?

  • sinz54

    CentristNYer: None of this spending on either side surprises me. Both are excessive and both parties’ national committees need to exert tighter control. Period.
    Then how about this Grand Bargain:

    Steele should resign over this issue, IF AND ONLY IF the chairman of the DNC, Tim Kaine, resigns over this too.

    Because they’re both equally guilty of the same offense (regardless of which one is making more political hay over it, something we could debate endlessly and uselessly because we’re getting into an election campaign soon).

    Otherwise, both men should offer apologies, fix the expensing issues, and let’s move on.
    I really think that’s fair.

    What say you?

  • pre-Reaganite

    What a lame attempt at counter-spin. Even worse, it won’t work because the RNC story is already out.

  • CentristNYer

    Sinz: “both men should offer apologies, fix the expensing issues, and let’s move on. I really think that’s fair.”

    Works for me.

  • Independent

    ottoBS asks: “Were the helicopters black?”

    No, in honor of the president, they were mixed race.

  • Independent

    Anyone else getting the sense that multi-named, mulitple posting troll-dom is back in vogue at FF?

    There’s an undeniable theme in the newest members to this shifting-Left FF club… oldleftie, gramps, pre-reaganite, LBJcrew, texassenior, etc. All farLeft voices… all piling onto the pile of sh*t already dropped by ottoBS and fellow FrumBots.

    Hmmmmm. Not saying, just curious.

  • pre-Reaganite

    Far left, moi? Jeezus.

  • ottovbvs

    …..I’ve got news for you….no one is very interested in this story……they’re only interested in the latest Steele Bondage nightclub screw up……..that’s the significance of this story……the problem for the GOP is they are stuck with Steele who, they thought, was going to be their token black guy to take down the president….instead they got an 18ct gold bozo with an iffy ethical history….now they can’t fire him because that would look racially motivated and then there would NO black guys at the GOP convention…..so they have cover up for him…..the story is made more amusing by the fact that there is another RNC faction who can’t wait to get his ass out of there……oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

  • pre-Reaganite

    otto’s got it.

  • Gramps

    “…There’s an undeniable theme in the newest members to this shifting-Left FF club… oldleftie, gramps, pre-reaganite, LBJcrew, texassenior, etc.”

    That’s an interesting observation in another respect; it would appear most of those characters have white hair, no hair or a combo of the mix?
    I must be totally honest and admit I’m one of the mixed breed.

    Another observation might be made; we have way too much time on our hands and enjoy tweaking other olde, totally defenseless, wing nuts… From my point of view, it just ain’t fair.

    BTW #1: Good post, concerning the “New Jobs Bill 2010”, joedee1969…
    BTW #2: ottovbvs, my Momma, bless her soul, used to say the same thing!

  • LauraNo

    This tit-for-tat, childish “but they did it too” is so very tiresome. What matters is how the RNC donors are likely to feel about the revelations and how the democrats do. Pretty sure the dems won’t be morally outraged about it. See the difference? GOP all of a sudden has got fiscal restraint. Whoops, I guess not. Could we stick to the issues behind a story instead of playing gotcha?

  • LauraNo

    Also, listing spending without considering what that spending begat is ridiculous ‘journalism’. If the spending resulted in donations, it was well worth it. They are actually supposed to spend money. This is just ridiculous. I wonder if those young donors actually donated. Wouldn’t that be the point?

  • agentprovocateur

    “Yes oldleftie… in Arkansas, anything past 4th grade is considered ‘higher education’.”

    This from someone who gets all bent out of shape whenever anyone else uses the same kind of “elitist” argument to bash Sarah Palin. Interesting.

    “Anyone else getting the sense that multi-named, mulitple posting troll-dom is back in vogue at FF?”

    As long as you are here, that will always be the case–MI-GOPer, GOProud, Independent…

  • Rob_654

    I am not saying that either Party is correct in their behavior but the difference is that the Republican Party is the Party that trumpets “Family Values”, “Protecting Family Values”, “Christianity”, et al – that is why these types of stories – along with adultery hit Republicans harder than Democrats.

    As the old saying goes, “Live by the sword, die by the sword”…

    And the truly crazy thing is that (and both sides do it) is that the Republicans hold themselves up as more moral than the Democrats – but then when they get caught doing something they shouldn’t be doing – far to often their defense is “But the Democrats do it also” – which is really saying “We are no better than they are” – which only goes to undermine their whole moral message.

  • TerryF98

    Oops. The RNC sent out a mailer pretending to be a Census info brochure. The gave a 1-800 number on the thing which turned out to be a sex line!!!!

    It gets better. You could book a hooker from this sex line. When you call the message is………..

    Sexy guy, welcome to an exciting new way to go live, one on one, with hot, horny girls, waiting right now to talk to you. Lie back, baby, relax and get ready to meet real local students, housewives and working girls from all over the country.

    Hundreds of hot girls call free all day and all night because we love nasty talk as much as you do …

  • rbottoms

    The difference is we’ve been kicking your tail in fund raising so nobody at the DNC gives a crap.

  • Independent

    Correction:

    Tim, what you don’t know is that while Bill Clinton managed the Lincoln Bedroom suite for DNC and propsective Clinton Library donors (there’s something oxymoronic about using words like “library” and “Clinton” together –can the guy even read beyond a 4th grade level?), Clinton was willing to arrange escort sleep-ins for anyone so inclined.

    Charlie Sheen made great use of it plus Bill’s private stash of coke. Howie Dean was said to have demanded silk sheets for his love-fest in the Lincoln bedroom. And, famously, Barbara Streisand told WH staff to find somewhere else for her hubbie to sleep –she was bedding with Slick Willy… the sexual razorback from Hell.

    Of course, silly spending by political groups have been going on for a long time. Clinton and John Edwards and John Kerry and TeddieK have all used office and campaign accounts to pay off hookers, escorts, coeds and sex therapists… the standard joke in TeddieK’s office was which monthly expense would be bigger –the hooker tab or the bar tab.

    You’re right. Michael Steele doesn’t look good even compared with these major scum bags… but then, no one thought they were electing a solid business manager when they picked Steele… they just wanted a smooth talking pol who could mug for the camera.

  • agentprovocateur

    Michael Steele is proving to be the worst affirmative action hire since Clarence Thomas. Keep up the good work, RNC.

  • CentristNYer

    Hey, IndependentMIGoperProud:

    We’re all glad to see that the “COPY CRAZY” and “PASTE CRAZY” functions of your keyboard are still working perfectly.

  • LFC

    This is an interesting one from the WSJ…

    Other expenses disclosed in the fund-raising reports for the political parties includes a $57 bill for the RNC at The Abbey, whose Web site says that MTV considers the West Hollywood bar that “best gay bar in the world.”

    As pointed out above, the expenditure would normally be no big deal except for the fact that the Republican Party has been demonizing gays for years. It would sort of be like a DNC bill for services rendered by the NRA.

    The difference is we’ve been kicking your tail in fund raising so nobody at the DNC gives a crap.

    Actually, per this from CNN and this from Politico, that doesn’t really seem to be true. The Dems seem to have a cash on hand advantage, and fundraising has been close to even. Looks like the K Street well has gone dry lately.

    I did find this tidbit in the CNN article interesting, though:

    The DNC official noted that it does not accept donations from lobbyists or political action committees, while the RNC does take those contributions.

    I had not heard this before. Is it true?

  • rbottoms

    > I had not heard this before. Is it true?

    One of Obama’s improvements. And yes, we may be down this quarter but overall since taking office Democrats have been making that cheddar. I can’t think of anyone who would thinks the DNC hasn’t been bringing their A game since November 2008.

  • LFC

    One more question. Was that “pole dancers” or “poll dancers”? Just wondering if it’s a justifiable political expense. (It would also explain why there are so many political polling companies out there.)

  • Independent

    LFC, it’s pole dancer.

    Poll dancers are ACORN staffers looking for new ways to steal elections, fraud the US govt out more money, scam homeowners who are surrounded by sharks and going under, and looking to help the Obami keep that Chicago Thug & Mug Machine in hyperdrive. If you tried stuffing a $10 bill into some ACORN staffers’ shorts, you’d probably get a disease, a free trip to the local polling place to vote 8-9-10 times and get registered as a muslim named East Tur Bun Knee in the next Obama election.

    Poll dancers. Pole dancers. Very different animals.

  • Independent

    LFC tries the oldest ploy in the democrat ditch diggers manual: “As pointed out above, the expenditure would normally be no big deal except for the fact that the Republican Party has been demonizing gays for years.”

    Ummm, wrong-o bigot boi.

    Try this site: http://www.gaypatriot.net/

    Try remembering that GOProud sponsored CPAC’s last convention.

    Try remembering that of the last 7 presidential campaigns, gay GOPers made up almost 65% of the senior campaign staff.

    What was that line? You need to quit bedding down with the gayLeft. It’s seeping into the space left by your brain’s exit.

  • LFC

    Zing! Looks like I touched a nerve. But it’s tough for a party to be virulently anti-gay marriage, against allowing gays to serve in the military, and against gay couples adopting children in need, and then say that you don’t demonize gays.

    In all your links and supposed stats, where is the long list of Republican Party quotes supporting gay marriage, equal rights for gays, and the repeal of DADT? And don’t feed me one or two marginal characters. I want to see the big guns saying it.

  • LFC

    Hey, Indie / GOPProud. I looked further at the Gay Patriot site you sent and saw an absolutely hilarious post on Arctic sea ice! The source is so uninformed, they don’t even understand that sea ice has 3 dimensions, and extent is not the same thing as volume. And that ice that appears in the course of a month, after near record setting lows in Dec-Feb, isn’t going to be particularly thick (as compared to the person posting).

    The ignorance displayed on this topic, like area vs. volume, continues to astound me. I knew the difference between the two in elementary school, and people expounding in blogs still haven’t figured it out. Oh, well. I guess it just turns out that rabid right-wingers who are gay are just as fact challenged as hetero right-wingers.

  • rbottoms

    > I want to see the big guns saying it.

    Actually big guns like Dick-less Cheney are pretty reasonable about gay issues. What makes the Republican Party odious is the underlings who carry the hardcore, anti-gay fag bashing the GOP is so good at.

    They make it clear that people can ignore the we are the world messages they get from George Bush and that they should pay attention to the Santorum-like man on dog crap or they let their closet cases rain thunder and lightning when they’re not out cruising.

    Why any gay man or lesbian would have anything to do with the GOP is beyond me.

  • Gramps

    LFC // Apr 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Talking about thin ice and thick heads…that was worth a Darwin Award under somewhat different circumstances.

    http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2010-04.html

  • CentristNYer

    LFC // Apr 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    “In all your links and supposed stats, where is the long list of Republican Party quotes supporting gay marriage, equal rights for gays, and the repeal of DADT?”

    I’ve asked him twice to provide the name of even one solid GOP presidential hopeful who’s in favor of any of these things and he suddenly goes uncharacteristically mute.

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  • Gramps

    “Actually big guns like Dick-less Cheney are pretty reasonable about gay issues.”

    I’m not actually certain “less” is the descriptive adjective you were looking for?
    http://www.poormojo.org/pmjadaily/archives/001883.html

  • ottovbvs

    LFC // Apr 1, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    “they don’t even understand that sea ice has 3 dimensions, ”

    ……these guys live in a two dimensional world……what do you expect

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  • DickC

    YEAH!

    Its a Wash!

    Sincerely

    The Party of Family Values

    P.S
    The Ten Commandments!

  • rbottoms

    What’s his? Democrats kicking GOP butt in fund raising? But that can’t be, ObamaHitlerMao ??? Hopey-Changey?? Leather Dominatix???

    The Republican Party’s strategy since early last year of lock-step opposition to the Obama administration’s major legislative initiatives has proved to be less bankable than some party leaders may have anticipated.

    With eight months to go before congressional elections, House and Senate Democratic candidates exceed in virtually every important campaign fundraising category. Democratic House lawmakers appear likely to reverse their seven-cycle record of being outspent by House Republicans, according to recent finance reports.

    Democrats in both chambers are enjoying the traditional advantages of majority-party status — and then some. They lead in donations by political action committees, by committees affiliated with the national political parties or with House and Senate leaders, and in individual contributions to incumbent lawmakers. In some instances, their lead exceeds what the Republicans had when that party controlled both chambers in the 2005-06 midterm election cycle.

    To no surprise, analysts differ by party on the causes and significance of the disparity. Some Republicans say a donations surge may still come in the campaign’s final months, particularly as the party courts new, small donors outside Washington. They also complain that donations to party stalwarts have been affected by internal squabbles with rebellious tea partiers, which they hope will end soon.

    Republicans also say the party must remain unified in opposition to President Obama if it wants to energize the most reliable donors, volunteers and voters. “If we look like winners, money will follow,” said Steven H. Gordon, an adviser to Senate Republican leaders who in the past has raised $70 million for GOP congressional candidates.

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