Fat-cat dinner or Aspen fundraiser?

Aaron Hedge
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
themoderatevoice.comFormer presidential adviser Karl Rove is scheduled to speak at a Republican fundraiser Friday in Aspen.

ASPEN – Is it $75 or $7,200 for admission to a campaign stump for three Colorado Republicans that Karl Rove, former adviser to the Bush administration, will headline Friday at Aspen’s Paepcke Auditorium?

Well, technically, it’s both.

But Frieda Wallison, chairwoman of the Pitkin County Republicans, says she expects most attendees to pay the former.

The price tag is $75 “to enable everyone who wants to attend to do so at a reasonable price,” Wallison said. “This is not a fat-cat dinner. It’s the opposite.”

The event, which includes a speech by Rove, is a fundraiser for Republicans Cory Gardner, a state representative running for Congress, Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier, who is also running for Congress, and state Rep. Scott Tipton.

The campaign for U.S. Rep. John Salazar, the incumbent running against Tipton for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional seat, painted a different picture of the event in a press release issued Thursday night. The release, titled “Washington Insider hosts $7,200-a-plate dinner for Multi-Millionare [sic] Buddy in Aspen,” sought to put Tipton in a negative light, according to Wallison.

First, Wallison said, the “plates” are non-existent – the event is not a dinner but a simple fundraiser where the campaign is asking for contributions at four different levels: $75, which is the base price for attending, and $500, $1,500 or $7,200 if people are feeling more generous.

“They have completely distorted the event,” Wallison said.

According to Salazar spokeswoman Tara Trujillo, the press release is a response to attacks on Salazar by the Tipton campaign accusing Salazar of voting nearly in concert with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has become notoriously unpopular of late.

The release also draws a connection between Friday’s fundraiser and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Tipton.

“Seeing Scott Tipton standing between Sarah Palin and Karl Rove makes sense on so many levels,” Trujillo said in the release.

Palin announced her endorsement of Tipton on Thursday, but will not be at Friday’s event, Wallison said.