WASHINGTON – Democratic groups tried Tuesday to make a campaign issue out of news that the national Republican Party spent $1,946 at a sex-themed California club, but GOP activists said party chairman Michael Steele will weather the dustup.

The Republican National Committee fired a staffer who helped organize the Jan. 31 visit to Voyeur Hollywood West, which features topless dancers, bondage outfits and erotic themes. It said it will recoup the money from a donor who paid the tab and was reimbursed by the party on Feb. 4.

The episode raises new questions about Steele’s oversight of the RNC. But officials said Steele knew nothing of the nightclub visit, which was listed in a federally required financial disclosure report.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee pressed GOP candidates to say whether Steele should remain as head of the NRC. But GOP activists said the matter would blow over.