WASHINGTON -- With the federal government shut down and the economy hurtling toward the debt limit deadline of Oct. 17, the architects of the Republican Party's shutdown strategy are getting ready for a plush four-day fundraiser at what Golf Digest once called the number one golf resort in America.
Yes, with Washington in chaos, Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint is scheduled to attend a major fundraiser for Heritage Action for America, the lobbying arm of DeMint's insurrectionist empire, at Oregon's Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. Heritage Action confirmed to HuffPost that the fundraiser is still on.
The invitation for the fundraiser has apparently been taken off Heritage's website, but could still be found through the website cache.
The event promises to bring together conservative leaders and members of Congress with wealthy donors to "strategize about the future of our country while navigating the challenging links of Bandon Dunes Golf Resort’s signature courses." An individual package covering all expenses for the Oct. 14-17 event costs $15,000; two people can attend for $25,000.
Unfortunately for three previously announced attendees, Reps. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), the debacle left in the wake of Heritage's defund-Obamacare campaign beckons. Spokespeople for the three congressmen confirmed to HuffPost that they will not be attending.
While they remain in Washington to deal with the small problems of getting 800,000 furloughed federal workers back on the job and making sure that payments from WIC and other aid programs go out to families in need, DeMint and the other attendees at the Heritage event will be relaxing with rounds of golf, an oyster and wine-tasting reception and an after-dinner gathering with scotch and cigars.
Corporate sponsorships for the Bandon Dunes fundraiser range from $5,000 to put the company logo on the boxed lunches to $10,000 to sponsor the scotch-and-cigars event. But if a corporation really wants to praise Heritage's work leading the charge to shutter the federal government, it could donate $75,000 and gain admittance for four along with the company name on one of the four courses played during the fundraiser and the company logo displayed on caddie bibs, scorecards, golf balls and the first tee box.
Hosting the event is Michael Keiser, the owner of Bandon Dunes and a major Republican Party donor. In the 2012 election Keiser gave so much money to GOP candidates and party committees that he actually exceeded the legal limit for total contributions in a two-year election cycle. He is currently under a Federal Election Commission investigation, along with dozens of other donors, for excessive campaign giving.
According to Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter David Cay Johnston, Bandon Dunes is also a significant recipient of government subsidies, something that Heritage Action generally opposes. The expansion of a nearby airport that serves as the landing pad for thousands of golfers each year was financed by "a tax paid on all commercial airline tickets and state bonds backed by revenue from the Oregon lottery, which is heavily used by the state’s poor," Johnston reported in 2007.