The super secret, exclusive shindig for Mitt Romney’s biggest donors in Park City, Utah, dubbed the “First National Romney Victory Leadership Retreat,” over the weekend has some interesting details. If you don’t find this information at least a little bit alarming, I suggest you check yourself for a pulse.
Politico describes the setting — “Eight hundred top donors gathered in the ballroom of a resort here to watch the presentation: the Romney campaign for president is organized, efficient and run like a business. In other words, their money is being wisely invested. The price tag for entry to the exclusive donor retreat was $50,000 and included access to some of the GOP’s biggest names — Jeb Bush, Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, as well as a briefing from top Romney officials on how they planned to beat President Barack Obama in November. It was a way of saying “thank you” to the hundreds of bundlers — fundraisers who tap their network of friends, family and associates to raise far more than the $2,500 they are allowed to individually contribute to a campaign. While Obama discloses his bundler list, Romney shrouds his in secrecy and the goings-on this weekend were held strictly behind closed doors.”
And who are the lucky folks who scored exclusive invitations? No idea.
Steve Benen comments – ”All of this, apparently, is “a way to reward top-performing bundlers, who make their own donations and then raise many times that from their networks of friends and associates.” To be sure, this is quite a treat for these bundlers, who will reportedly be “briefed on campaign strategy” during the posh affair (the agenda for Saturday evening includes “dessert and dancing”). […] Unlike George W. Bush, John McCain, and Barack Obama, each of whom voluntarily disclosed the names of their bundlers, Romney refuses to share this information, preferring to maintain a veil of secrecy over his fundraising operation. These bundlers are poised to get extraordinary access to Republican leaders and the man who may be president next year, but we aren’t allowed to know who they are.”
The NYTimes describes the complete access to power for the wealthiest — “Everybody was completely accessible,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York financier and Romney fund-raiser who said the candidate took the time to warmly greet and thank him by his nickname, Mooch, at a dinner on the first night of the retreat. […] Donors were unabashed about their desire to have face time with those who might constitute the brain trust in a Romney White House. David A. Wish, a Florida doctor and Romney fund-raiser, said that in order to sell the candidate to potential contributors, “we need one-on-one time with the people who make decisions.” […] On Thursday night, Mr. Rove held court on a hotel balcony with about a half-dozen financial executives, who peppered him with questions about Mr. Romney’s chances… After Mr. Rove walked away, the gaggle of men excitedly recounted the conversation, reveling in their access. “That’s the price of admission right there,” one donor said to another. “Your six minutes with Rove.”
And, according to Buzzfeed, Bain was there — “Flight records passed along by a Democratic source show that the Bain Capital Jet company jet flew from Bedford, Massachusetts to airfield near Romney’s Utah donor retreat on Friday.”
Think Progress notes that Karl Rove’s participation at this event demonstrates Romney’s poor judgement and hypocrisy – A Saturday panel on “media insight” will feature American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS co-founder Karl Rove. The Crossroads reportedly plan to spend a stunning $300 million to help Romney defeat President Barack Obama this November, but they are legally prohibited from coordinating this effort with Romney’s campaign. […] in December, Romney decried the rise of Super PACs like Rove’s American Crossroads, saying they have been a “disaster” for the political system. He said at the time: Super PACs have to be entirely separate from a campaign and a candidate. I’m not allowed to communicate with a super PAC in any way, shape or form… If we coordinate in any way whatsoever, we go to the big house.