Politics

Exclusive: Romney Sells Inauguration Access, Nine Months Early

A cool $50,000 reserves your seat at the “presidential inaugural retreat.” Now all Mitt has to do is get elected!

Julie Jacobson / AP

Romney greeted supporters during a phone bank fundraiser last May in Las Vegas.

Former Governor Mitt Romney is already offering top donors access to a special “Presidential Inaugural retreat,” planned on the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

The offer, in a fundraising email circulated by a top Georgia supporter to fellow Republicans and obtained by BuzzFeed, is one of several goodies offered to those who contribute more than $50,000 to the joint fundraising committee known as “Romney Victory,” a program whose outlines were first reported by POLITICO.

Those donors will be named “Founding Members” of Romney Victory and invited to a California retreat with Romney and offered “yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.”

They will also “have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat,” the email says.

The copy of the email obtained by BuzzFeed was forwarded by Richard Stormont, a former executive at the Marriott hotel chain, on whose board Romney sat.

Access to official and quasi-official presidential events has been a running source of scandal since well before President Bill Clinton offered top donors the opportunity to spend the night in the Lincoln bedroom. Presidents typically balance access with propriety, but the New York Times reported Sunday that the Obama White House has also opened its doors to top donors.

And Romney and other Republicans have sharply criticized Obama for, they allege, favoring political and financial supporters in deals ranging from the auto bailout to green energy investments.

But Romney already appears to be preparing to open his nascent administration to his top financial supporters, the email from Stormont suggests, and the email contains an unusual combination of promises of access and early measuring of the presidential drapes. It also lays out the cost of other levels of access. At one Georgia fundraiser, for instance, $10,000 is required to “get a photo with Governor Romney.”

“This is very important for the future of our country,” Stormont wrote prospective donors, urging them “to unify in our efforts to retire President OBAMA in November.”

Romney aides didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry late Sunday evening about the offer.

Here’s the full email:

From: “Richard Stormont”
Date: Apr 15, 2012 3:49 PM
Subject: Governor Romney for President

this is very important for the future of our country. Please read it to the end,.
___

The campaign is now moving into its next phase with the formation of “Romney Victory.” This is a joint fundraising committee established between Romney for President, the RNC and a number of battleground fund states. Romney Victory will make it easy for a donor to make one contribution to fund various committees focused on the election. The legal maximum that an individual can donate to Romney Victory is $75,800. The campaign is asking people who are able to make a $50,000 contribution to do so today and become a “Founding Member” of Romney Victory. These donors will be invited to a special retreat with Governor Romney in late June in California and will have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat as well as yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August.

As for our Georgia efforts, Governor Romney will be returning to Atlanta on June 11th to participate in two Romney Victory fundraising events.

The first event will be a reception which will be 1K per person/2K per couple to attend and 10K per couple to get a photo with Governor Romney. 10K represents a maxed out couple, giving $2500 each to both the primary and general election. Please keep in mind that while we are now accepting general election funds, we are still raising primary dollars. Contributions made to Romney Victory will first go toward the primary election account and then once an individual has reached their $2500 limit, the general election account. We are forming a host committee for this event, asking each host to raise 25K. There will be a private reception for the host committee with the Governor prior to the event.

The second event on the 11th will be a private dinner at a home in Buckhead that is being co-chaired by Tom Bell, Fred Cooper, Bernie Marcus and Jeffrey Sprecher. This dinner will be for “Founding Members” of Romney Victory who contribute 50K.

On April 27th, Spencer Zwick, Governor Romney’s national finance chairman, will be in Atlanta to participate in a lunch with the host committee and co-chairs for the June 11th events.

We have two months to make the June 11th events a success and I am confident that we can do it.

We know there have been a number of people who have been standing on the sidelines waiting for a nominee to be selected. It is now clear who the nominee will be and we will be making every effort to reach out to all those who have yet to give as well as those who previously supported another candidate. We now all need to unify in our efforts to retire President OBAMA in November.

Please let me know that you will be participating in this critical phase of the future of our country. I would like to request that you take a moment and reply back to me as soon as possible as to whether you would like to serve on the Host Committee for the June 11th reception and/or if you are interested in participating in the private dinner on June 11th?

The future of our country is at stake.

Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!

Ben Smith is the Editor-in-Chief of BuzzFeed and is based in New York.
Contact this reporter at ben@buzzfeed.com
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