GOP fires Allison Meyers as strip-club scandal taints party
Allison Meyers was director of the GOP's Young Eagles, a group that wooed young donors and visited a strip club in Los Angeles – racking up $1,946 in expenses that the party initially reimbursed. The scandal could hurt the GOP in three ways, in particular.
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The scandal could add to a growing trend among conservative donors. “Already we see big donors avoiding the RNC like the plague. Instead they are giving to the Republican Governors Association,” says Reid Wilson, editor of the nonpartisan blog, Hotline On Call. “That is going to hurt Republican efforts to retake the House and pick up Senate seats in November. Big donors don’t trust Michael Steele, and stories like this scare small donors away.”Skip to next paragraph
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That is a view disputed by Republican Party spokesman Heye. “As far as donors go, I’d point you to FireNancyPelosi.com, a website we launched just after the healthcare vote that has raised more than $1.5 million so far. It is issues such as healthcare, creating jobs, and our mounting national debt that matter to voters – and to donors.”
More pressure on Chairman Steele
Mr. Steele had already alienated some major donors with his spending. He held the party’s winter meeting at a beachfront hotel in Hawaii and drew criticism for delivering paid speeches and writing a book while drawing a salary from the GOP.
While he was not at the nightclub, the reimbursement gaffe adds to the impression that Steele is not an effective manager, some observers say. “RNC members are telling me that this is the latest nick in what they see as a death by a thousand cuts,” says Mr. Wilson, the blog editor. “It seems like every time Steele has a good day, some unforced error comes along and sets him back.”
Mike DeMoss, a longtime RNC donor, told Politico that, “The RNC cannot attack Democrats for how the government spends taxpayer money when it is spending Republican donor money recklessly. Recent RNC spending stories suggest a tone-deafness at best and a misappropriation of funds at worst.”
Confirming tea partyers suspicions
The nightclub flap could also hurt Republican efforts to reach out to "tea party" voters. “Tea party groups have intentionally kept their distance from establishment Republicans,” Wilson says. “The revulsion with Washington that tea party followers feel is aimed at Republicans as well as Democrats, and people – including Tea Party activists – are only going to be more angry with the GOP because of this frivolous spending.”
Professor Sabato agrees. “For the tea party voters, this just confirms their view that both parties are corrupt and on the wrong track. Since about 9 out of 10 tea party voters normally lean Republican, this obviously hurts the GOP more.”