We knew he was a “cool boss.” We … just didn’t know how “cool.”

From a Daily Caller story on the chairman’s alleged desire to purchase a private jet — which seems only too plausible, given previous reports of RNC profligacy — spot the buried lede:

While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.

The RNC explains that Steele charters jets only when commercial service is unavailable, or when his tight schedule requires it. “Anytime the chairman has taken any private travel has been a either to a route that doesn’t exist or because of connections and multiple travel to where he just wasn’t able to do so,” Heye said. Yet Steele’s office repeatedly refused to explain in specific terms the circumstances of the February charter flights.

Once on the ground, FEC filings suggest, Steele travels in style. A February RNC trip to California, for example, included a $9,099 stop at the Beverly Hills Hotel, $6,596 dropped at the nearby Four Seasons, and $1,620.71 spent [update: the amount is actually $1,946.25] at Voyeur West Hollywood, a bondage-themed nightclub featuring topless women dancers imitating lesbian sex.

Note the sleight of hand in the last paragraph, which suggests that Steele was responsible for the expenses while technically attributing them only to an “RNC trip.” Would the chairman of the GOP, which depends on social conservatives for donations, really be so foolish as to turn up at a “bondage-themed club” and leave an FEC trail of his visit by charging his tab to the RNC? I’m guessing no — although it’s a testament to how low public confidence in Steele has sunk that most people will read that and think, “Yeah, maybe.”

They’re blaming a staffer, and I tend to believe them:

I asked an RNC spokesman about the story — specifically the charge that money was spent at Voyeur West Hollywood.

The spokesman said: “We are investigating the expenditure in question. The story willfully and erroneously suggests that the expenditure in question was one belonging to the chairman. This was a reimbursement made to a non-committee staffer. The chairman was never at the location in question, he had no knowledge of the expenditure, nor does he find the use of committee funds at such a location at all acceptable. Good reporting would make that distinction crystal clear. The committee has requested that the monies be returned to the committee and that the story be corrected so that it is accurate.”

When I read the story, I assumed this was a case of an RNC staffer trying to woo some wealthy donor who wanted to check out the club, but if he’s “non-committee,” then how likely is that? Sounds like it was for pure pleasure, not business. Exit question: Which RNC finance employees will be fired for agreeing to reimburse expenses incurred at a “bondage-themed nightclub” (by a non-committee staffer, no less)? Names, please.

Update: Here’s Daily Caller reporter Jonathan Strong defending his reporting by insisting that “the article doesn’t say that Steele was at Voyeur.” Right — it merely strongly implies it. Weak.

Update: Thanks, Erik Brown!

Erik Brown, who owns Dynamic Marketing Inc. and most recently charged the Steve Poizner for Governor campaign more than $10,000 for campaign literature and mailings, was reimbursed by the RNC for the almost $2,000 in charges at Voyeur West Hollywood, according to FEC filings and online reports reviewed by The Daily Caller…

The RNC has denied that Steele spent the money at Voyeur. But it appears Brown is close to the chairman. In October, Brown wrote on Twitter, “Enjoying the football game with RNC Chairman Michael Steele. (Eagles vs Redskins at FedEx Field)”.

Update: And now that the PR clusterfark is in full swing, Erik Brown’s decided he doesn’t really want that reimbursement after all. Which is super, but doesn’t solve the problem of finding out which moron(s) at the RNC approved the reimbursement in the first place.