(WASHINGTON) — While most Americans will be enjoying the first weekend of summer outside and away from work, Mitt Romney will host his richest campaign donors at a retreat in Utah where they’ll have access to high-profile Republicans who would likely be in the candidate’s administration if he wins the race.
Usually, party bigwigs and donors have to wait until the conventions to hear leaders speak and rub elbows with the GOP elite, but not this summer, as many will be descending on the tiny Deer Valley resort area of Park City beginning today.
The guest list includes James Baker, Mike Leavitt, Bobby Jindal, Meg Whitman, Paul Ryan, John Thune, Condoleezza Rice, Rob Portman, Bob McDonnell, Tim Pawlenty, and many more recognizable GOP figures including Karl Rove, the mastermind of George W. Bush’s presidency whose super PAC is raising millions of dollars to spend against President Obama in commercials.
The confab in Utah is a reward for so-called campaign bundlers who have gathered donations for Romney, many of them around $150,000. But that money is limited by campaign finance law, whereas super PAC money is unrestricted. Just as the bundlers will have access to potential VPs, Rove will be in the same room as all of the donors, many of whom probably have more money to spend and know lots of other rich supporters who do, as well.
Many bundlers are looking to raise up to $1 million each for Romney’s campaign. The Rove super PAC and Romney’s super PAC will have an easier time doing that because they can take contributions that aren’t limited by law. The Federal Election Commission bars campaigns and super PACs from “coordinating” on how they’ll spend money on ads, but that rule is almost impossible to enforce and is vague in its details.
Rove’s very presence at the donor retreat pushes Romney closer to the fine line between campaign and super PAC. He’s scheduled to speak about “media insight” along with the Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg, Weekly Standard editors Fred Barnes and Bill Kristol, and GOP strategist Mary Matalin.
Romney will address everyone tonight, and the party continues Saturday with policy sessions (featuring John McCain and Jeb Bush), and Sunday with golf.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Eric Bradner, CNN
Dan Berman, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN