New York congressman Sean Patrick Maloney is flaunting his visit to Hollywood's "most exclusive private club" just months after the Democrat criticized his party for coming across as "elitist" and "out of touch."
Maloney was photographed outside the U.S. Capitol on September 30 with a sticker from San Vicente Bungalows—Hollywood's "most exclusive private club," according to Page Six—on the back of his cell phone. That sticker is placed over a guest's phone camera upon entry to the club to ensure privacy, and among the Los Angeles elite, "it's become a low-key flex to keep the palm-tree bungalows sticker adhered to the back of one's phone case," New York magazine wrote in February. Maloney's visit to the A-list hotspot appears to have come on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) dime: On February 4, the committee—which Maloney chairs—spent nearly $500 at San Vicente Bungalows for "events/meetings." The week of that event, the committee spent more than $2,100 on "travel" in California, including a $768 disbursement at the SLS Hotel, a five-star Luxury Collection hotel in Beverly Hills that features "exquisite room offerings … near Rodeo Drive," "stunning views from our seductive Vista Pool deck," and "the finest seafood delicacies flown in fresh daily."
Maloney's visit to the elite Hollywood club and apparent stay at the luxury Beverly Hills hotel is particularly notable given that the Democrat trashed his party for its elitism just months after the trip. Maloney, who is tasked with retaining Democrats' House majority in next month's midterm elections, told the New York Times in August that the party comes across as "elitist" and "out of touch." "We could be more comfortable on the factory floor—or at least as comfortable on the factory floor as we are in the faculty lounge," Maloney said. "I think that most of the voters that we ask about this think that we're out of touch, they think we're elitist, we think we are better than they are. And they don't like it."
It's unclear if Maloney is a member at San Vicente Bungalows or if he entered the club thanks to a member's blessing. An event may only take place at the club if a member sponsors it, according to the club's website, and annual dues are $4,200 a year. The club's member list and guests reportedly include top Hollywood celebrities and socialites, such as billionaire cosmetic heiress Aerin Lauder, actor Johnny Depp, pop star Justin Bieber, and director Steven Spielberg. But Maloney is no stranger to Hollywood stars—in March, Maloney's husband posted a photo with actress Gwyneth Paltrow under the caption, "Thank you for hosting us at your lovely home." Still, Maloney has insisted that his seven siblings and lumberjack father keep him "grounded in working-class values," according to the Washington Post.
The DCCC did not return a request for comment.
According to GQ magazine, San Vicente Bungalows was once "a down-and-out motel and gay bathhouse infamous for meth-cooking and cruising." In 2013, however, Los Angeles hotelier and restaurateur Jeff Klein purchased the site, which became the now-famous club. Klein has stressed that those affiliated with the club "don't judge." "Bring your wife one night, your mistress the next night, and your boyfriend the one after," he said in 2019. "That's sort of what this was created for—no judging. Where else can you do that in privacy?"
Maloney is well-acquainted with swanky committee events. With the midterm elections just one month away, Maloney was spotted last week sipping wine on a Paris balcony alongside Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), with the pair of Democrats in the French capital to fundraise from liberals living abroad. Maloney also partied maskless in France in August 2021, which came as the U.S. State Department told Americans, "Do not travel to France due to COVID-19." Maloney held another fundraiser with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) in Napa Valley when he returned home—tickets to the soirée cost up to $29,000.
Democratic congressional candidates in rural areas have also accused Maloney's DCCC of ignoring their races. When the committee failed to spend on TV ads in Texas's 15th Congressional District, which is located in the southern Rio Grande Valley, Texas Democratic Party chair Gilberto Hinojosa blasted the committee in an interview with the Texas Tribune.
"I'm really, deeply disappointed in the DCCC," Hinojosa said. "I hope they change their mind, and if we lose this election, it's completely on them."