Romney closing Israeli fundraiser to reporters

July 28, 2012 - 3:40 PM
Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and his wife Ann board his charter plane at London Stansted Airport, Saturday, July 28, 2012, as he travels to Israel. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney plans to raise campaign money in private while in Israel, so what he tells wealthy American supporters abroad will be kept quiet from voters at home.

Romney's campaign is barring reporters from a fundraiser at Jerusalem's King David Hotel and not saying why. At U.S. events, Romney's remarks to donors in communal spaces such as hotels are typically public.

President Barack Obama allows reporters to hear his words at fundraisers, though he generally bars them from listening to question-and-answer sessions with those in attendance. The president sometimes allows coverage of his remarks at events in private homes.

Romney traveling press secretary Rick Gorka, asked to comment, simply said, "Closed press, closed press, closed press," as he walked down the aisle of the candidate's campaign plane during the flight from London to Tel Aviv.

Some of Romney's wealthiest U.S. supporters plan to attend Monday's fundraiser. They include casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who's donated millions to a group backing Romney and is a leading backer of Republican Jewish groups in the U.S.

Donors at the event were asked to contribute $50,000 or to raise $100,000. Romney advisers say the event is expected to raise more than $1 million. The fundraiser will be relatively small, likely with about 50 attendees, giving Romney the chance to interact more personally than he does in many of the larger events.

Romney sometimes has given donors more policy specifics than he includes in his standard campaign speeches. At a fundraiser this spring in Florida, for example, he offered new details on how he might cut government and which deductions he might eliminate as part of his tax plan. The event was overheard by reporters standing on a public sidewalk.

Throughout his career and campaign, Romney has released information that the law demands, including the list of donors that the Federal Election Commission requires and financial disclosures that give a broad outline of up to $250 million in assets.

But he repeatedly has broken with the practice of presidential candidates in both parties in disclosing more. He's refused to release the names of the fundraisers who tap friends and business networks to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for his campaign, and has said he'll release only two years' worth of tax returns.