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The Manchurian Candidate

Lost in all the brouhaha about Mitt Romney’s gaffe-o-rama in England is the fact that one of the main things he did while in London is hold a fundraising dinner in a foreign city, where scandal-plagued international bankers paid $25,000 to $75,000 a plate to support his election campaign.

That’s right. Romney is explicitly asking for money on foreign soil to influence a US election. He may insult the Brits over their Olympic preparations, but he’s happy to take their money and do their bidding.

Oh, and the fundraiser almost got derailed when Romney’s co-chair for the dinner had to resign his job as CEO of Barclays bank because of his involvement in the LIBOR banking scandal. But it turned out ok, because another banker (the chief lobbyist for Barclays) took his place. Other people at the dinner include insiders from “Bank of Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Goldman Sachs, Blackstone and Wells Fargo Securities — and, of course, Bain Capital Europe.” But we don’t know who else attended, because US law doesn’t require Romney to report who attends his fundraising dinners abroad.

Just as Sheldon Adelson is throwing unlimited amounts of (mostly foreign) money at the Romney campaign in order to avoid prosecution for violating the law, maybe Romney just considers it good business to get money from international bankers who want to avoid any responsibility for the LIBOR (London InterBank Offered Rate) scandal, where top bankers were found guilty of distributing “false interest rates in order to fool investors and game the international economy.” Of course, if that screws up the international economy or makes people taking out a home mortgage to pay too much in interest, that’s probably not something Romney would be concerned about.

Interestingly, the dinner was held at the Mandarin Oriental hotel, and is estimated to have raised more than $2 million for Romney.

UPDATE: Romney is also holding a fundraiser in Jerusalem on Monday, but in a last minute decision he decided to kick the media out of the event, which violates the agreement he set up with the media back in April. So much for being transparent. The Romney campaign refuses to even discuss why this fundraiser is closed to the media. But the likely reason is that he wants to tell his donors something he does’t want the American people to hear. According to the Washington Post:

Romney has a history of delivering different messages to his donors when reporters are not present to hear them. At a closed-press fundraiser in Florida this spring, reporters from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, without Romney’s knowledge, overheard the candidate outline new tax policy proposals and suggest that he might dramatically downsize the Department of Education and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

We do know that one of the people who will be attending the fundraiser is billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who is flying over from the US.



  1. Hassan wrote:

    Can Mitt Romney legally transfer the money donated for his campaign to his personal accounts? Like if he “loaned” his campaign lots of money in 2008 and now from his personal assets, so when people donate, he can pay back his loan?

    May be he is just in for making up his money (lost in 2008), and winning presidency would be just bonus?

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 9:45 am | Permalink
  2. JamesM wrote:

    Current federal law — legal eagles can find it at 2 U.S.C. 441e(b)(3) — prevents “a partnership, association, corporation, organization, or other combination of persons organized under the laws of or having its principal place of business in a foreign country” from making “directly or indirectly” a donation or expenditure “in connection with a Federal, State, or local election,” to a political party committee or “for an electioneering communication.”

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  3. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thanks JamesM.

    Time to sue Romney!!

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink
  4. Iron Knee wrote:

    I’m seeing ambiguous information about the event. Some sources say that these were bankers working for American firms, but working in London (in which case it would be legal since the firms are headquartered in the US). Other sources list attendees including the CEO of Credit Suisse (who was a co-chair). I’m guessing they didn’t allow him to donate money, in order to keep within the letter of the law. Or maybe banks with foreign headquarters have US affiliates, and they just have them making the donations. Loopholes.

    Note that I worded my post carefully. I suppose that it is legal to take foreign money (like Sheldon Adelson’s) as long as the company is officially headquartered in the US.

    Incidentally, PolitiFact has a ruling today that speaks to this issue, although I find their reasoning in this case highly suspect. See

    This is also relevant, even though it was from before Citizens United — Apparently a foreign corporation can donate money for political purposes, as long as it is done though a US subsidiary that has enough funds to cover the expense. So what Romney and the banks in England are doing may be legal, but I find it despicable. It should be illegal. At the very least, it should make voters wary of candidates that take money this way.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink
  5. Don wrote:

    He’s in Israel raising money, as well.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  6. Don wrote:

    As my son just pointed out, Obama also raises money overseas. Check out

    Can’t speak to who all will attend.

    Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink
  7. Anonymous wrote:

    They don’t have to donate money, they can create a Super PAC and just advertise on their own. Even foreigners have free speech through a PAC.

    Sunday, July 29, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

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