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Senator Martha McSallyEXPAND
Senator Martha McSally
Gage Skidmore, CC 2.0

You Can Pay $5,600 for VIP Time With McSally, Karl Rove, and Jerry Colangelo

Republican U.S. Senator Martha McSally plans to attend a campaign fundraiser on Thursday, April 18, with former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo and former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, according to an invitation for the event obtained by Phoenix New Times.

The fundraiser is scheduled to take place at the Paradise Valley home of the real estate developer Mike Ingram, a part-owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks who frequently donates to Republican campaigns, including more than $30,000 to committees supporting President Donald Trump. His home is worth nearly $4 million, according to Maricopa County property records.

Rove left the White House in 2007 following controversies over his role in the Iraq War, the Valerie Plame affair, and low approval ratings for President Bush. Since then he has served as a conservative commentator and political fundraiser.

Colangelo has been an active political donor for years, giving to both Democrats and Republicans in the past. In the last election cycle, however, Colangelo solely gave to GOP candidates on the federal level, including $5,400 to McSally in her race against Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

The event includes a 30-minute VIP session requiring a minimum donation of $2,800 per person. Coughing up $5,600 will give a guest the designation of "co-host." Below the VIP tier, $1,000 earns one the honor of "wingman," while donors of $500 are relegated to the title of "friend."

McSally's campaign did not respond to request for comment. Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson Les Braswell said in a statement: "McSally's decision to campaign and fundraise with Rove, who was the architect behind Republican efforts to privatize Social Security in the mid 2000s, should concern Arizona seniors and anyone who thinks she has learned from her loss in November."

The event comes as McSally attempts to play fundraising catch-up in Arizona's 2020 Senate election.

McSally's only serious Democratic challenger, former astronaut Mark Kelly, raised nearly twice as much as the Republican during the last fundraising quarter, according to federal campaign finance reports.

Kelly, husband of former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, brought in $4.1 million, a massive haul for a Senate race. McSally raised about $2 million.

Kelly has sworn off donations from corporate PACs, but has come under criticism following reports that he has been paid generously for corporate speaking engagements, including with Goldman Sachs, the Cayman Alternative Investment Summit, and a multilevel marketing company that sells nutritional supplements

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