Romney Plans Private Israel Event With Top U.S. Donors

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is planning to hold a meeting in Jerusalem this week with top campaign donors that will be closed to reporters accompanying him on a six-day foreign tour.

Many of the fundraisers, a group of top Romney supporters that includes casino executive Sheldon Adelson, traveled from the U.S. to join the campaign for tomorrow’s event at the King David Hotel. The price to attend: A donation of $50,000 or having raised $100,000 for the campaign, according to an invitation obtained by Bloomberg News.

Previously, the Romney campaign had agreed to let the media into all fundraising events at public venues. In Israel, the campaign plans to bar the press, aide Rick Gorka said.

President Barack Obama allows reporter coverage of his fundraisers at public venues. At events in private homes, a pool of reporters can listen to his opening remarks before they are ushered out.

Romney has been overheard by reporters making political statements to donors in private that he doesn’t repeat in public. During an April event at a waterfront mansion in Florida, he told fundraisers he would consider drastically reducing the Education Department and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, according to NBC News.

Earlier this month, he didn’t mention former President George W. Bush by name in a speech at a fundraiser hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney at a golf course near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Yet reporters later overheard him mentioning Bush at a private dinner at Cheney’s home.

Foreign Tour

The Jerusalem event is the second fundraiser held by Romney during an international tour designed to highlight his foreign-policy credentials. On July 26, almost 250 donors joined Romney in London at an event that raised at least $2 million, according to campaign aide Spencer Zwick. A small group of reporters was allowed to listen as Romney spoke. Hosts included donors with ties to banks involved in the Libor rate-fixing scandal, a fact scrutinized in the press.

Fred Zeidman, a Houston-based donor attending the Israel fundraiser, said the crowd is expected to be largely pro-Israel Americans who traveled from the U.S. for the event.

Campaign aides refused to comment on the decision to bar the media from attending.

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