Thursday, July 26, 2012
Another London Headache? Romney Fundraiser Raises Eyebrows
With his London visit mired in controversy, Mitt Romney is also facing criticism for taking money from individuals implicated in an ongoing banking scandal.
Barclays executives have donated over $1 million to Romney’s campaign, according to the Guardian, and many are expected to be in attendance at Thursday’s fundraiser, raising eyebrows on both sides of the pond.
Former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond bowed out as host of Romney’s fundraiser after resigning in the wake of a scandal in which major banks colluded to artificially lower the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR), the rate at which banks loan to one another. Diamond has donated $2,500 to the Romney campaign.
Eighty-two other Barclays employees have donated to Romney, according to the Associated Press. Patrick Durkin, Barclays’ chief lobbyist in D.C., is a co-host and has raised more than $1 million for Romney.
Last week, 11 members of the British Parliament signed a letter citing the upcoming fundraiser and called on Barclays executives to “cease fundraising for political candidates immediately and to concentrate entirely on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead.”
Headlines in the last few days have drawn the connection between Romney, his financial industry-focused fundraiser and the LIBOR scandal, threatening to bolster Democrats’ message that Romney is more interested in helping Wall Street than Main Street.
On top of Romney’s rough start in London, which not only includes negative coverage of his fundraiser but also anger over his skepticism on London’s preparedness to host the Summer Olympic Games, the Guardian picked up on a report that the fundraiser is slashing ticket prices in order to attract last-minute attendees. Dinner tickets, which were being sold for $25,000 and up, are now going for $10,000, according to the report.
The Romney campaign did not respond to requests for comment.