June 25, 2008 -- Las Vegas casino magnates will be hosting a luncheon fundraiser today for Senator John McCain behind the guarded gates of a posh Vegas golf club where donors ponying up tens of thousands of dollars will get face time with the presumptive Republican nominee.
The event will be held at the Southern Highlands Golf Club, one of Vegas' most exclusive neighborhoods and home to three of the luncheon's hosts -- casino resort mega-developer Steve Wynn, MGM Grand CEO Terry Lanni, and Republican media consultant Sig Rogich. Las Vegas Sands chairman Sheldon Adelson, one of the world's richest men, and Sands CEO William Weidner are also listed as hosts on the invitation.
The men have raised and contributed hundrend of thousands of dollars for the Republican party over the years, and Adelson has poured millions of his own money towards supporting conservative independent advocacy groups, including Freedom's Watch, which is expected spend millions of dollars barraging voters with ads this fall.
At today's event, high-rollers who contribute $33,100 will get a private audience with McCain at a special "roundtable private discussion" at Rogich's home located next to the club's private 18-hole golf course. Donors must pay a minimum of $1,000 to attend the main luncheon, $2,300 for a photo with McCain, and $10,000 to attend a VIP reception.
The campaign is able to get around the $2,300 contribution limit by billing the event as benefiting "McCain Victory 2008" event, meaning the contributions will be split between McCain's campaign, the Republican National Committee, and various GOP state parties, to comply with federal campaign finance law.
A McCain spokeman told ABCNews.com "we don't talk about fundraisers," when asked about the Las Vegas event. The fundraiser will be covered by a small pool of reporters who are prohibited from taking any photos during the fundraiser.
So far this presidential election, Vegas is betting on McCain. The presumptive Republican nominee has collected $480,000 in contributions from Las Vegans so far this presidential campaign season, while his Democratic rival, Sen. Barack Obama, has collected $272,000 from the city's residents, according to campaign finance data available through CQMoneyline.com.
The employees at MGM Mirage are among McCain's top 20 campaign contributors, according to Opensecrets.org.