Politics

Democratic National Committee spent $5,850 to rent Washington nightclub Josephine in December

Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye, in defending RNC Chairman Michael Steele during a Fox News interview, likened criticism of the RNC’s expenditures at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub in California, to a Democratic National Committee expense at Josephine, a bar and lounge in Washington.

Democrats booked Josephine for a staff Christmas party in December and spent $5,850 to rent the club for three hours. An event marketing manager at the club said between 150 and 200 attended the event.

DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse confirmed the expenditure, and said the party included a talent competition, was strictly for staff and that no fundraising was conducted there.

Woodhouse argued the RNC is highlighting the expense because, “They’re in the crosshairs and now they want to attack someone else.”

Josephine does not feature any topless dancers or imitation of sexual acts by performers, as Voyeur does, a club source said.

Josephine has its own link to Hollywood, having hosted an inauguration party for Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. It is frequented by professional athletes including hockey player Alex Ovechkin and other members of the Washington Capitals team as well as members of the Redskins football team. Bottle service costs a minimum of $500; a bottle of Grey Goose vodka is $350.

Woodhouse said chairman Tim Kaine, then also governor of Virginia, was not present at the party. Kaine was attending to his duties as governor, Woodhouse said.

Woodhouse says Kaine has used a private plane twice in his tenure; both times donors lent Kaine the use of their planes because of “flight cancellations.”