Romney to ban press from fundraiser in Israel

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 28. Jason Reed/REUTERS
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 28. Jason Reed/REUTERSRepublican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann arrived in Tel Aviv, Israel, on July 28. Jason Reed/REUTERS/

JERUSALEM—Mitt Romney is planning to bar the press from a campaign fundraiser here on Monday, breaking a previously-arranged agreement with how such events would be covered by the news media.

At a high-dollar fundraiser at the King David Hotel here—one that is expected to be attended by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson—Romney will address a small group at the conclusion of his trip to Israel and just before departing for Poland.

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Romney’s campaign has not offered a full explanation for barring reporters from Monday’s fundraiser.

“Closed press, closed press, closed press,” Romney’s traveling press secretary, Rick Gorka, reportedly said while leaving the campaign plane after a flight from London to Tel Aviv.

But the decision goes against an agreement with the news media in April. For the past several months, Romney has allowed representatives from wire, print, and television organizations into events that are held in common spaces, such as hotels. The campaign has not allowed coverage of his remarks that take place in private homes.

President Obama also allows reporters into his fundraisers, sometimes include private homes. Romney and Obama both typically bar reporters from listening to question-and-answer sessions that typically follow their prepared remarks.

One potential reason for the lack of access on Monday is the presence of Adelson, who has emerged as one of the biggest Republican fundraisers this year. Adelson, who was born in Dorchester and has been active in American and Israeli politics, has already spent tens of millions of dollars on the election and expected to spend much more.

Romney has also been joined on his trip here by several of his top fundraisers, along with members of his campaign’s finance team. Many began arriving on Saturday afternoon, and headed out for dinner and a brief tour through the Old City of Jerusalem. In order to attend the fundraiser, donors were asked to contribute $50,000.

Romney and Obama have both been aggressively courting American dollars abroad. Obama has used surrogates to host his foreign fundraisers, while Romney has used a portion of his current trip overseas to solicit campaign contributions. In addition to the fundraiser in Jerusalem, Romney held fundraisers while he was in London on Thursday night. That fundraiser, like the one on Monday, was held at a hotel.

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