February 29, 2012

Obama visit to include exclusive dinner at Portland art museum

It will cost up to $30,000 to attend when he visits in March, and a second fundraiser also is planned.

By Jonathan Riskind jriskind@mainetoday.com
Washington Bureau Chief

WASHINGTON — President Obama's campaign fundraising trip to Maine on March 30 will feature a dinner at the Portland Museum of Art, with the price of admission as much as $30,000.

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The cost of attending the dinner at the art museum begins at $5,000 and tops out at a $30,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee.

TO LEARN MORE . . .

For more information about the Obama fundraisers in Maine on March 30, email:
ObamaMaineReception2012@gmail.com

More information on major Maine donors to Obama’s campaign

About 100 donors are expected to attend the dinner, according to three sources who spoke on condition of anonymity because the Obama campaign has not authorized them to release the information.

The dinner will follow a reception that afternoon at the Portland Marriott at Sable Oaks in South Portland, where about 800 people are expected to attend.

Obama's trip to Maine will not include an official event, just the two campaign fundraisers, the White House has said.

The prices for tickets to the event at Sable Oaks range from $100 to $10,000. For $100, an Obama supporter can buy a general admission ticket. For a $250 donation, one gets "friend" status, and for $500, a contributor gains entry to a "preferred section," according to the campaign website.

A "co-host," who contributes or raises $10,000, gains entry to a photo reception with the president.

The cost of attending the more exclusive dinner at the art museum begins at $5,000 and tops out at a $30,000 donation to the Democratic National Committee.

The Portland Museum of Art is an important place in Portland's rich cultural community. It is home to an exceptional collection of art, anchored by several Winslow Homer oil paintings and watercolors, and is in the heart of the city.

Generally, the museum does not host political events or figures, although Laura Bush dedicated the reopening of the McLellan House when she was first lady, in the fall of 2002.

Obama has raised $560,394 from Maine contributors for his 2012 re-election campaign, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance research organization in Washington, D.C.

Dozens of Mainers have given Obama contributions of at least $2,500, or the maximum of $5,000 that can be directly contributed to a candidate per election cycle.

Among them are Robert C.S. and Bonnie Monks of Cape Elizabeth, who have given Obama $5,000 each.

Bonnie Monks and Karen Harris of Cape Elizabeth, co-chairs of the Obama for ME Finance Committee, hosted a fundraiser in September with Michelle Obama at Monks' home in Cape Elizabeth. The first lady's visit also included a fundraiser at the Ocean Gateway terminal in Portland.

Robert "Bobby" Monks is a real estate developer and a minority owner of MaineToday Media Inc., which owns The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, the Kennebec Journal of Waterville, the Morning Sentinel of Augusta and their associated websites.

Also among the major donors to Obama's campaign are Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine and her husband, S. Donald Sussman. Both have contributed $5,000, according to the center's records.

Sussman is a financier, philanthropist and frequent Democratic donor who recently purchased a 5 percent equity stake in MaineToday Media through Maine Values LLC.

Obama was last in Maine in July 2010, when he and his family vacationed on Mount Desert Island.

Obama won Maine in 2008 with 58 percent of the vote to Republican John McCain's 40 percent.

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at: jriskind@mainetoday.com

Twitter.com/MaineTodayDC

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