Former PAC chairman fined by D.C. is hired as GOP fundraiser

By Perry Bacon Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 5, 2010

Neil S. Alpert, whom the District fined three years ago for improperly spending money from a political action committee he chaired, has been hired by the Republican National Committee to help with its fundraising.

Alpert, whose new role was reported Sunday by AOL's Politics Daily, will serve as a special assistant for finance to RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele. His hiring comes as fellow Republicans have sharply criticized Steele and the national committee after campaign finance reports unearthed last week showed that an RNC aide had authorized spending almost $2,000 at a bondage-themed nightclub in West Hollywood as part of an effort to recruit young donors.

In 2007, the District's Office of Campaign Finance found that Alpert improperly spent $37,670 on items that were not authorized by the D.C. Baseball PAC, which he chaired, or the D.C. Baseball Association, a nonprofit group that the PAC created to raise money for youth programs. He was asked to reimburse the groups, which were dissolved after Major League Baseball authorized a Washington franchise, and was fined $4,000.

Alpert, who left his post as director of institutional relations at the Washington National Opera for the RNC job, could not be reached to comment, and RNC officials did not discuss his hiring. He has previously worked as a fundraiser. Alpert has denied the allegations.

Two top GOP congressional leaders sidestepped questions Sunday about their confidence in Steele. Other Republicans have expressed concerns in the past week about his leadership. Asked on "Fox News Sunday" whether he thinks Steele should step down, Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate, said, "Well, I'm not in the position of the people who elect Michael Steele to either say he should step down or not."

But, he added, "this kind of thing has got to stop or they won't get any contributions."

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, a top Republican leader in the House who is helping to craft the party's platform for the fall midterm elections, said, "You've got to bring the trust back, and that may mean shaking some other roles inside the RNC as well."

Asked whether he has "full confidence" in Steele, McCarthy declined to say, instead noting that "the RNC does have some challenges that they need to correct."

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