Md. GOP hires consultant fired in 2010 over racy after-party for young Republicans


Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan. (Joe Lamberti/AP)
August 18, 2014

The Maryland Republican Party, as part of its effort to promote the gubernatorial bid of Larry Hogan, has hired a fundraiser who was fired from the national party in 2010 for authorizing payment for a gathering of young donors at a bondage-themed club.

Allison Meyers will work to raise money for the Hogan Victory Fund, Executive Director Joe Cluster said Monday.

He called the incident involving the nightclub outing a mistake that occurred nearly five years ago and said Meyers has since helped numerous other political campaigns.

“There are far more important issues Maryland voters care about, such as out-of-control taxes, businesses fleeing our state and massive jobs losses, such as the 9,000 additional jobs lost just last month ,” Cluster said.

He said Meyers would not be available to answer questions.

As director of the Young Eagles, an RNC program to court young donors, Meyers signed off on a nearly $2,000 reimbursement to a GOP consultant for the costs of an after-party for young Republicans at Voyeur, a club in West Hollywood, Calif., that featured topless dancers wearing bondage gear and simulating sex acts. The outing followed a Young Eagles dinner.

The departure of Meyers from the Republican National Committee came at a particularly challenging time for its then-chairman , Michael S. Steele, a former Maryland lieutenant governor who faced criticism for his financial stewardship of the RNC.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Meyers has been the principal at Rivet Strategies, a consulting firm, since shortly after leaving the RNC.

Meyers’s name shows up as a contact person on a fundraising solicitation for a victory fund event posted on Facebook last week . Cluster accused the campaign of the Democratic nominee for governor, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, of alerting reporters to her hiring, a move he described as “sleazy politics.”

The state GOP is playing a heightened role this year in the governor’s race as it tries to help Hogan score an upset over Brown in a heavily Democratic Maryland.

Hogan is participating in the state’s public financing system , which entitles him to about $2.6 million in public funds for the general election but prohibits him from raising additional funds for the campaign. Brown, a prolific fundraiser, spent about $9 million on this year’s primary, more than any other candidate, and is expected to raise millions more for the general election.

Under state law, the Maryland Republican Party and its local affiliates can collectively spend another $3.7 million promoting Hogan’s candidacy. To that end, the party recently set up the Hogan Victory Fund.

Maryland law allows Hogan to help raise money for the victory fund. He is also still raising money to cover debt incurred during the primary. In late June, Hogan’s campaign reported having $742,338 in outstanding loans and unpaid bills but only $128,004 in the bank. The largest chunk of the debt was $500,000 in loans that Hogan, an Anne Arundel County businessman, made to his campaign between February and May.

John Wagner has covered Maryland government and politics for The Post since 2004.
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