Monday’s $35,000-a-couple fundraiser starring Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to take place at a private club in Aspen owned by two gay men, sources said Friday.
The Caribou Club in Aspen’s downtown core is set to host the VIP reception with Pence, according to sources who declined to be named. Billy Stolz, one of the owners of the club, did not return a phone message seeking comment.
Bob Jenkins, vice chair of Pitkin County Republicans, said Friday that he expects about 25 couples to attend the $35,000-per-couple VIP reception with Pence starting at 5 p.m. on Monday.
Jenkins, however, said the location of the event will not be released to the public.
“If people know, there will be protests,” he said. “It increases security (demands) drastically. Why do we Republicans want to create extra costs for the city of Aspen?”
Jenkins, who said he didn’t know the location of the event, also declined to say who is hosting the event.
Jenkins said he’d heard rumors of about four different locations in downtown Aspen for the fundraiser, though he doubted it would actually take place in that area.
“We are trying to have the event happen without messing with businesses in Aspen,” he said. “I don’t expect it will be at any of the rumored locations in downtown Aspen.”
Asked about Pence’s possible appearance at a gay-owned business, Jenkins said if it were true it would be immaterial.
“(The gay issue) doesn’t affect whether we’re at the Caribou Club or we’re not at the Caribou Club,” he said. “What’s that got to do with anything?”
Throughout his career in Congress and as governor of Indiana, Pence repeatedly opposed efforts to legalize gay marriage and other measures meant to improve the lives of gays and lesbians. President Donald Trump even joked in 2017 that Pence “wants to hang” all gay people.
The last time Pence visited Aspen — in December 2017 — neighbors of the Owl Creek-area home where he stayed displayed a rainbow “Make America Gay Again” banner on a pillar near the home’s driveway.
Regardless of the fundraiser’s location, Trump and the Republican Party stand to reap quite a windfall after Pence’s visit.
Out of each $35,000 donation, Trump will receive the maximum allowed donation of $2,700 per person, while the Republican National Committee gets the rest, Jenkins said. A joint fundraising committee made up of those two entities called Trump Victory is sponsoring the Aspen event.
Pitkin County Republicans received an invitation from Jenkins to the event with Pence earlier this week.
“This event is an intimate high dollar reception, and we would like you to participate if possible,” according to the invitation. “Additionally, please quietly spread the word.
“Additional details will be provided upon RSVP.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, RNC Co-Chairman Tommy Hicks Jr. and National Finance Chairman Todd Ricketts “cordially” invited the donors to the Pence event, according to the invitation.
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said Friday he didn’t know where the fundraiser would be held or who was hosting the event. He said he was attempting to locate the host so he can send the expected $10,000 to $20,000 bill for security his deputies will have to provide.