$20K per couple for dinner at Ryan fundraiser on Saturday
MANCHESTER – Paul Ryan, Republican Mitt Romney’s pick as running mate, will return to New Hampshire on Saturday for a big-ticket fundraiser at which couples will pay $20,000 to dine with the Wisconsin congressman.
The cost to attend a 45-minute reception at which Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, presumably will speak is $500. Photos with Ryan will run attendees $2,500.
The donor who comes up with $50,000 will become a founding member of the Romney Victory Fund, while someone giving $15,000 will be a Battle Ground Fund investor.
The private reception at the Radisson Hotel at the Center of New Hampshire in Manchester had been in the works for eight days, but managed to stay out of the public eye.
Promoters sending out invitations had hyped the event as being the first time Ryan would be in the state since Romney picked him as his running mate.
The Aug. 16 invitation for Saturday’s reception, however, went out before the Romney campaign planned and pulled off a town hall-style forum with Romney and Ryan on the campus of Saint Anselm College in on Monday.
Romney campaign spokesman Michael Levoff said private fundraisers aren’t on candidates’ schedules and that there was no intent to keep this event or Ryan’s return to the state a secret.
“We make every effort to be as transparent and as accessible to the media as we possibly can,” Levoff said.
Campaign officials said the fundraiser is the only event on Ryan’s schedule for the day. Romney and Ryan are preparing for the Republican National Convention, which will open in Tampa, Fla., on Monday.
While the event is closed to the public and press, the campaign has designated a reporter from the New Hampshire Union Leader to attend and supply a pool report.
Former Democratic Party Chairman Kathy Sullivan hosted a conference call Friday afternoon to accuse Ryan of ducking media coverage and public events here because of conservative views on abortion rights and reforming Medicare.
“At every turn and in every conceivable way, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have proven that they would be an absolute disaster for women,” Sullivan said.
On Friday, the Obama for America New Hampshire campaign was planning door-to-door canvassing in 50 communities as it tries to add to a gender gap that polls reveal in New Hampshire, a key swing state.
Although the race is too close to call between Romney and Obama in New Hampshire, Obama has a large lead among women, while Romney is beating the president decisively among men.
Earlier this month, first lady Michelle Obama was the guest of honor for a similar big-ticket fundraiser at the lakefront home of Gary Hirshberg, co-founder of Stonyfield Yogurt.
Michelle Obama’s private fundraiser became publicly known several days before she arrived, pool media coverage was allowed and the trip included public rallies with her in Manchester and Laconia.
Hirshberg had set a goal of raising $1 million that he said would be a record for a single event benefitting a presidential candidate in New Hampshire.
Until this presidential campaign, these mega- donor events were rare in New Hampshire, given that it’s a small state and that activists from both major political parties have plenty of opportunities here to see, question and be photographed with candidates and presidents for free.
These large donations are well in excess of what individuals or committees can give to a presidential campaign, but they’re legal because the money goes to a joint fundraising arm known as Romney Victory; Obama’s campaign has a similar entity.
The group then parcels out amounts from each check. For example, each individual can give $5,000 to the Romney campaign, the next $30,800 would go to the Republican National Committee and anything above gets split between four state GOP committees co-sponsoring the event.
The Republican State Committee gets no proceeds from Ryan’s fundraiser.
The four state parties that would benefit from the largest donors are those in Massachusetts, Vermont, Oklahoma and Idaho.
Kevin Landrigan can reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@nashua telegraph.com. Also, follow Landrigan on Twitter (@Klandrigan).