A group of major GOP donors, led by New York billionaire Paul Singer, is quietly expanding its political footprint ahead of the midterm elections in an increasingly assertive effort to shape the direction of the Republican Party.
The operation was launched discreetly last year, with the previously unreported formation of a club called the American Opportunity Alliance to bring together some of the richest pro-business GOP donors in the country, several of whom share Singer’s support for gay rights, immigration reform and the state of Israel. Around the same time, Singer and his allies also formed a federal fundraising committee called Friends for an American Majority that raised big checks for a select list of the GOP’s most highly touted 2014 Senate hopefuls.
Those candidates are among the big names expected at a two-day retreat organized by the American Opportunity Alliance set for the last week of February at a swanky Colorado resort. The closed-door event — which is also expected to draw House Speaker John Boehner and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, according to Republicans familiar with the plans — is seen in GOP finance circles as a grand debut of sorts for Singer’s still-amorphous club.
On its face, it in some ways resembles a much smaller-scale version of Charles and David Koch’s fabled network, which brings together hand-picked operatives and politicians twice a year at tony resorts to make presentations to dozens of rich conservatives. At the conclusion of the Koch seminars, as they’re called, donors commit massive sums into a pool of cash disseminated to various Koch-backed groups for seven- and eight-figure advertising and organizing campaigns that have made them a force in Republican politics rivaling the official party.
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