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Romney's elite retreat: Who could be on the list?

by Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group

Picture of Deer Valley LodgeAll eyes this weekend are set on Mitt Romney’s weekend retreat in Utah, where his campaign has reportedly invited a group of donors with fat wallets to meet the candidate, some of his potential runningmates, and top GOP strategists. A number of media outlets have reported that the minimum price of admission is a $50,000 contribution to his campaign. 

According to media sources, some 700 invitees are landing at Deer Valley Resort, which features 10 restaurants and an outdoor amphitheater. While it serves primarily as a ski resort in the winter months, summer activities include mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking. One of the lodges is visible at right. Lodging options start at $155 per night, and amenities include private hot tubs, stone fireplaces, and "custom alder wood cabinetry."

The guest list remains shrouded in secrecy, but, based on the ask, Sunlight's Reporting Group has compiled a list of possible attendees: 

  • Mining executive Joseph Craft is among the well-heeled guests attending this weekend's Romney Victory leadership retreat, a representative from his company Alliance Resource Partners, told Sunlight. Craft has headed the Tulsa, Okla.-based coal producer and marketer since 1987, when it was named MAPCO Coal. According to Forbes, Craft and his family are worth $1.4 billion. He has been an active donor to conservative groups in this year's election season. Most notably, he has contributed $500,000 to Restore Our Future, a pro-Romney super PAC, as well as $1,250,000 to American Crossroads. He also given $2,500 directly to Romney's campaign, and $30,800 to the Republican National Committee. Although Craft resides in Oklahoma, he has supported races in other states. In Wisconsin, he donated a total of $25,000 to Scott Walker's successful gubernatorial recall campaign. He has also given $5,000 to Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., who serves in the Energy and Water Subcommittee.
  • Sheldon Adelson, casino magnate and billionaire will be present at the GOP weekend, according to CBS news. After donating $10 million to Mitt Romney’s campaign several weeks ago, Adelson has redirected his support from Gingrich – to whom he contributed more than $20 million during the Republican primaries – to Romney and will be present at the retreat. The $10 million donation, however, seems to be just a start; Adelson recently mention a $100 million figure to Forbes. A staunch conservative, Adelson appears willing to do just about anything to keep Obama out of the white house for a second term.
  • New York Jets owner Woody Johnson will also be attending the event according ABC news. Johnson has been a strong supporter of Romney since early on in the race, and has made several public statements suggesting that he has been deeply involved with Romney’s fundraising initiatives. In addition, to his personal contributions, Johnson has been known to rally support for his causes by soliciting wealthy friends to attend fundraising events and contribute to campaigns.
  • Billionaire and founder of Home Depot Ken Langone is also expected to attend this weekend’s retreat. After an unsuccessful effort to draft New Jersey governor Christopher Christie into the presidential race, he announced in early October that he would shift his support to Romney. Langone is now part of Romney’s large network of bundlers, and has already begun soliciting friends and colleagues to join his cause.

To guess at who else might be attending the retreat, see here for a list of Restore Our Future donors who have given more than $50,000. And below for a list of donors who are maxed out to the Romney campaign and the RNC. That doesn't mean they can't be tapped for more: In April Romney announced that donors could cut checks for $75,800 -- well above the maximum that his presidential campaign can legally accept -- so that the money can be shared among his campaign, the RNC and four state committees set up as part of his victory fund.


NAME OF DONOR OCCUPATION
MRS. SHAHLA ANSARY, WIFE OF HUSHANG ANSARY HOMEMAKER
HAROLD BEZNOS REAL ESTATE DEVELOPER, BEZTAK CO.
ALICE CARY BROWN HOMEMAKER
JOHN A. CANNING MADISON DEARBORN PARTNERS INC
THOMAS CASH CONSULTANT, ESSEX LAKE GROUP LLC
JUDITH CASH HOMEMAKER
HOWARD CROW INVESTOR, MILL CREEK HOLDINGS LTD.
KATHERNIE CROW HOMEMAKER
CLIFFORD FORREST PRESIDENT, ROSEBUD MINING
CHARLES JOYCE EXECUTIVE, OTIS EASTON SERVICE INC.
VINCE KOLBER FOUNDER, RESIDCO
ROBERT LEROY MERCER FINANCIAL CONSULTANT, RENAISSANCE TECHNOLOGY
DWIGHT SCHAR PRESIDENT, N.V.R. HOMES INC.
KENNY A. TROUTT CEO, EXCEL TELECOMMUNICATIONS
CEO, EXCEL TELECOMMUNICATIONS CHAIRMAN, TED WELCH INVESTMENTS
DENNIS J. KEEGAN INVESTOR, KARKIDEN LLC

Photo courtesy of Deer Valley Resort