- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Republican National Committee will invite Andrew Breitbart to its rescheduled “big donor” fundraiser in Southern California, which had been set to feature the conservative columnist and online-media mogul, along with numerous California Republican politicians.

The fundraiser, planned for Aug. 12-14 in Beverly Hills, was postponed last week, a fact that was reported over the weekend by CNN, Politico and others and which led commentators to speculate that Mr. Breitbart had been dropped over the Shirley Sherrod fuss.

However, an RNC spokesman told The Washington Times on Sunday evening that Mr. Breitbart would be welcome at the event, set for after Labor Day.

“I don’t know Andrew Breitbart’s schedule for after Labor Day, but he certainly will be invited,” RNC Communications Director Doug Heye said, reiterating that the event “has been postponed,” rather than canceled as CNN reported.

“We are working on scheduling and fully plan to have another event scheduled soon, based on our existing trips to California that will capitalize on the fall fundraising season that happens post-Labor Day,” Mr. Heye said.

Former and current RNC members reached Sunday night declined to comment on the reasons for the postponement or on Mr. Breitbarts inclusion.

In an e-mail notice that went out to big donors across the country last week, the RNC said it was putting off the California event until September, but did not mention Mr. Breitbart, who was accused of racism for posting a misleading video of Agriculture Department official Shirley Sherrod that led to her firing.

Some donors at the time of the e-mail speculated privately that the postponement resulted from a dearth of interest and that a September date might yield better results. The RNC has had difficulty raising money recently, with internal figures indicating it is spending more on fundraising than it is generating in donations.

The RNC notice last week said the party’s national governing body — and, normally, its largest donation-generating arm — is organizing two “final events” in California this fall, one each in Northern and Southern California. The notice gave no date more specific than after Labor Day.

“The events will support our final victory and get-out-the-vote programs for the California races on the House, Senate and gubernatorial levels,” the RNC said in an e-mail to “Regents” and “Team 100” members — the top echelon of Republican givers.

Democrats and some Republicans castigated Mr. Breitbart recently for circulating the Sherrod video, which shows her bragging at an NAACP event about not helping a farmer because he was white. The Obama administration immediately forced her to resign, but apologized when the complete video subsequently showed that she was actually making a case against racial bigotry and confessing to her own previous shortcomings from more than 20 years earlier.

Mr. Breitbart was to have teamed up with RNC Chairman Michael S. Steele at a reception for top donors at some point during the Aug. 12-14 fundraising events.

The original invitation to Regents and Team 100 members billed the fundraiser as “Election Countdown” to take place at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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