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Mitt Romney offers access to 'Inauguration retreat' for $50,000 donations

Mitt Romney is offering top donors access to a special "Inaugural retreat," under the assumption that he will be elected president this November.

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Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks to supporters on April 11, 2012 in Hartford, Connecticut. Romney is offering special access to an "Inauguration retreat" to donors who give $50,000 or more to his campaign. (Spencer Platt/AFP/Getty Images)

Mitt Romney has offered access to a special "Inauguration retreat" for donors who give his campaign $50,000 or more, BuzzFeed reported, operating under the assumption that he will be elected President this November.

The high-rolling donors will "have preferred status at the first Presidential Inaugural retreat as well as yet to be determined access at the Republican National Convention in Tampa in August," Richard Stormont, a top Republican supporter from Georgia, wrote to fellow Republicans in an e-mail obtained by BuzzFeed. 

Stormont is a former executive with Marriott; Romney was a former member of the hotel chain's board, the Hill reported. 

GOP candidate Romney's joint fundraising effort with the Republican National Committee, known as "Romney Victory," has offered a series of perks to donors who contribute significant amounts to his campaign, for which he aims to raise $750 million, Politico reported. The legal amount an individual can donate to a campaign is $75,800, according to BuzzFeed. 

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The first 1,000 people who give either $50,000 individually or $150,000 as a couple will become "Founding Members" of Romney's fundraising committee, and according to the e-mail will also receive invitations to a retreat with Romney in San Diego this summer.  

However, Romney's campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said that the Inaugural retreat and the San Diego retreat are one and the same, and that the e-mail was misunderstood, the Los Angeles Times reported

"The reference to 'inaugural retreat' means 'first retreat,' not one revolving around the inauguration," Saul wrote in an e-mail to the Times. "This is confirmed by the fact that it’s scheduled for this summer."

An analysis published last week by the New York Times has pointed out that the Obama administration has granted important donors and lobbyists increased access to the White House. In their study of donation records and White House visitor logs, the New York Times found that 75 percent of those who donated $100,000 or more to Obama's campaign visited the White House, compared with about 20 percent of those who gave $30,000 or less.

Almost two-thirds of the president’s top 2008 campaign fundraisers visited the White House at least once, some of them numerous times, according to the New York Times. 

"While both President Obama and Gov. Romney organize fundraising the same way, President Obama is the only candidate selling access to the White House," Romney's spokeswoman said in response to the Times report. 

More from GlobalPost: Obama, Democrats raise over $53 million in March (VIDEO)

Romney has yet to be formally declared the Republican presidential nominee, though he has emerged as the presumed GOP candidate. 

"We know there have been a number of people who have been standing on the sidelines waiting for a nominee to be selected," Stormont wrote in his e-mail. "It is now clear who the nominee will be and we will be making every effort to reach out to all those who have yet to give as well as those who previously supported another candidate. We now all need to unify in our efforts to retire President Obama in November." 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120416/mitt-romney-offers-donors-access-inauguration-retreat