Mitt Romney is apparently not having the best time in Britain thus far. But things will get significantly better when he attends a big fundraiser tonight populated by many executives from Barclays Bank, the firm at the heart of the Libor scandal. While Bob Diamond, the former CEO, has dropped out of the event, Patrick Durkin, the top lobbyist at Barclays US operation, is a co-host (and also a major bundler for Romney). All the attendees are US citizens who either live in London or who traveled for the event.
In fact, 82 Barclays executives have donated the maximum amount to the Romney campaign, compared to 1 for Barack Obama. Needless to say, attaching Romney to the bad publicity surrounding Barclays, which admittedly rigged the Libor for years, has the potential to rebound badly. This is especially true considering that members of the British Parliament have urged an end to the fundraising:
Barclays has privately distanced itself from its bankers’ donations to Mitt Romney, the US Republican presidential candidate, after its executives were accused in parliament of fundraising for political candidates instead of working to rebuild the public’s trust in the wake of the Libor-setting scandal.
Executives at Barclays have donated over $1m to Romney’s presidential campaign and will hand over more money on Thursday night at an exclusive fundraising dinner in a secret Mayfair location, where tickets cost between $50,000 and $75,000 [...]
An early-day motion (EDM) signed by 11 MPs last week demanded the bank and its directors stop working to bolster Romney’s election campaign war chest and concentrate on repairing confidence and trust in the banking system instead.
But in a letter to the signatories of the motion, Cyrus Ardalan, a vice-chairman of Barclays and head of the UK and European government relations, said the bank was not a supporter of the presidential hopeful.
“I … would like to clarify that all political activity undertaken by Barclays’ US employees, including personal fundraising for specific candidates, is done so in a personal capacity, and not on behalf of Barclays,” he wrote.
Incidentally, Romney gave a speech before Barclays in 2011 and received a fee of $50,000.
Other co-hosts of the London fundraiser include a managing director at Deutsche Bank and the CEO of private equity firm TPG Capital.