Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has a party fundraising event coming up in August that is scheduled to feature a very special guest: Conservative media activist Andrew Breitbart, according to a copy of the invitation exclusively obtained by TPM.
The fundraising event, billed as an “Election Countdown,” will take place from August 12-14 in Beverly Hills, California, and will also feature other politicians such as California Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and Nevada Republican gubernatorial nominee Brian Sandoval. Steele and Breitbart are scheduled to co-headline a welcome reception on the first evening, August 12.
It’s certainly some odd timing for the RNC to be working closely with Breitbart, who, of course, has made headlines recently for circulating a video clip of then-Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, an African-American, seeming to tell a story about how she would not help a white farmer who was down on his luck 24 year ago. Sherrod was quickly forced to resign last week. And as it turned out, the full video showed that Sherrod was telling a story about how she ultimately did not discriminate against the farmer — that this was a great turning point in her own personal story of race relations in the South — and she did help him. Indeed, the farmer himself has come forward to defend her and discuss their lasting friendship.
Sherrod has since received apologies from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and President Obama. Breitbart also said he felt sorry for Sherrod — despite the fact that he was the one who posted the questionably edited video in the first place.
RNC spokesman Doug Heye confirmed to TPMDC that the event is going on, but declined to comment further on the nature of fundraising events. We asked follow-up questions about whether Breitbart is still confirmed to attend the event, and also asking when this was first scheduled.
Heye did not comment further, but instead only referred us to the earlier confirmation of the event.
The Four Seasons hotel company, which owns the Beverly Wilshire, has also confirmed to TPMDC that the event is booked for those days, but was unable to confirm a guest list.
Andrew Breitbart did not return our requests for comment.
See the invitation here, forwarded to us by a TPM reader.
Additional reporting by Evan McMorris-Santoro.