JERUSALEM — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who touched down here Saturday night for a day of meetings with top Israeli and Palestinian leaders, plans to wrap up his visit to Israel by collecting money from some of his biggest benefactors behind closed doors.
Some of Romney’s Jewish donors are flying here from the United States to attend the Jerusalem fundraiser on Monday morning, including Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who has pledged to personally give tens of millions of dollars to a pro-Romney super PAC.
But Romney’s campaign announced Saturday that it would block the news media from covering the event, which will be held at the King David Hotel. The campaign’s decision to close the fundraiser to the press violates the ground rules it negotiated with news organizations in April, when Romney wrapped up the Republican nomination and began opening some of his finance events to the news media.
Under the agreement, a pool of wire, print and television reporters can cover every Romney fundraiser held in public venues, including hotels and country clubs. The campaign does not allow media coverage of fundraisers held in private residences.
Campaign spokesman Rick Gorka declined to explain the campaign’s decision to violate protocol with the Jerusalem event. Pressed repeatedly by reporters to offer an explanation, Gorka said only that the fundraiser was “closed press.”
“That’s all I’ve got for you — it’s closed press,” Gorka said.
Romney has a history of delivering different messages to his donors when reporters are not present to hear them. At a closed-press fundraiser in Florida this spring, reporters from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, without Romney’s knowledge, overheard the candidate outline new tax policy proposals and suggest that he might dramatically downsize the Department of Education and eliminate the Department of Housing and Urban Development.