At Secretive Meeting, Tech CEOs And Top Republicans Commiserate, Plot To Stop Trump – Huffington Post
Sea Island Resort — which boasts three golf courses and a spa and fitness center that, at 65,000 square feet, would fill nearly two-thirds of a Home Depot — is famous for its isolation. It’s surrounded by marshes and some distance from the nearest large commercial airports. In 2004, when President George W. Bush hosted the annual G-8 summit on the island, the press center for the event was located 80 miles away in Savannah, Georgia.
The Anschutz Corp., Starwood Capital Group Global, Avenue Capital Group, and Oaktree Capital Management bought the then-bankrupt resort – which covers the entire island — in 2010 for $212.4 million.
“It is not much of a place to experience average America,” The New York Times wrote of Sea Island in 2004. “But it is a fine locale to shut out the rest of the world, view conspicuous architectural consumption and walk beaches that have little or no public access.”
In 2015, AEI’s Sea Island gala drew most of the men who would become the Republican party’s presidential candidates, according to an agenda Bloomberg obtained at the time. Scheduled speakers included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. (Some scheduled speakers may not have attended; a snowstorm snarled transportation up and down the East Coast that weekend.)
AEI paid $32,490.97 for 11 members of Congress to attend the conference in 2015 alone, according to disclosure records available on Legistorm.com.
Democratic officials, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Jason Furman, the chair of Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, Gene Sperling, another top Obama economic adviser, and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, were listed as 2015 attendees, Bloomberg reported at the time.
Christie was scheduled to deliver the opening remarks at the conference that year.
A few weeks ago, he endorsed Trump.
CORRECTION: This article has been edited to remove a reference to Politico publisher Robert Allbritton, who said he’s never attended an AEI World Forum.
Jennifer Bendery contributed reporting.