Already reeling from a spending scandal and a crisis of confidence, the Republican National Committee has hired a fundraiser who was ordered in 2007 to reimburse a previous employer for unauthorized personal expenses, including his own rent.
The hire of Neil Alpert as Michael Steele’s “special assistant for finance” was first reported by Politics Daily.
Alpert was previously chair of the D.C. Baseball PAC, which was created to attract Major League Baseball back to the District.
The PAC filed a complaint against Alpert with the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance (OCF), alleging that in 2004 and 2005 he used “substantial amounts of PAC funds to defray his personal expenses” and that he filed expense reports that contained “numerous inaccuracies and omissions.”
“It was basically a personal piggy bank” for Alpert, Al Madison, one of the PAC officials who filed the complaint, tells TPMmuckraker in a phone interview. “This just brings back a whole welter of nausea,” adds Madison, who is president of a Washington public affairs firm.
OCF investigated the charges and found that Alpert spent $2,700.00 and $2,925.00 on rent and parking at his apartment. Alpert was quoted in the press at the time as saying that he was using his apartment as the PAC headquarters.
The OCF further found that Alpert made ATM withdrawals, cash withdrawals, and debit card purchases totaling $1,891.87, $19,500.00 and $10,653.53, respectively, that were not reported.
An OCF audit (.pdf) found that the debit purchases were for “meals and entertainment, gasoline purchases, and other day-to-day expenditures.” But the audit staff “was unable to determine whether these expenditures were for political or personal purposes.”
OCF ordered Alpert to pay a $4,000 fine, partly for failing to comply with requests from auditors. And he was ordered to reimburse the Baseball PAC for $69,568, about half of which was described as unaccounted for funds. Politics Daily reports that Alpert never paid the reimbursement as part of a mediation agreement with his former employer.
Alpert denies wrongdoing. But the OCF order notes that “he did not provide a single witness or a single document that supported his contention that the expenditures in question were authorized.”
His LinkedIn profile features a detailed resume — highlighting his work for AIPAC and the Washington National Opera — but his time at the Baseball PAC is omitted.
Politics Daily has more on Alpert’s high-flying lifestyle, including membership at the Mandarin Hotel’s Tai Pan Exclusive Life Style Club, which features a “bar, lounge, dining area, terrace, business facilities and library.”