Mitt Romney heads to London this week as part of a larger European tour, which will also take him to Israel and Poland.
While in London, the former Massachusetts Governor is scheduled to attend two campaign fundraisers for U.S. expats hosted by bankers and lobbyists embroiled in the LIBOR-gate scandal.
London-based Barclays paid a $450 million fine earlier this month for manipulating LIBOR — the rate used to determine the price of roughly $800 trillion worth of financial instruments.
Ex-Barclays CEO Robert Diamond resigned July 3 on news of the scandal. He soon dropped out as a Romney fundraiser co-host, even removing his name from the invitations.
But Barclays' lobbyist Patrick Durkin remains co-chair of Romney's fundraisers. The DC-based lobbyist has already raised more than $1 million for Romney's White House bid.
According to the Washington Post, Romney's London fundraisers will include a reception and a dinner. It costs $2,500 per person to attend the reception; dinner attendees paid between $25,000 and $75,000 a plate.
In the accompanying interview, guest host Jeff Macke asks: What's the big deal? Isn't this just business as usual for Romney to be schmoozing with bankers?
"For him to go there is a risk" with upside and downside potential, says Patrick Reis economics reporter for Politico.
"The upside is these are powerful people with deep pockets for campaign contributions," he says. "The downside is it sort of plays into this democratic narrative that he is a little too close with the banking industry and other major corporations to prevent the sort of economic collapse we saw just a few years ago."
Wall Street and the financial sector have already contributed $37.1 million to Romney's campaign coffers (versus President Obama's $4.8 million), according to the latest June Federal Election Committee (FEC) filings.
However, Romney is not the only one taking money from those involved in LIBOR-gate. President Obama has received roughly $35,000 from Barclays employees, according to the New York Times. Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden attended a fundraising event earlier this month co-hosted by Mark Gilbert who is a top Barclays executive and avid fundraiser for Obama.
Tell us what you think! Are Romney's London fundraisers business as usual for Romney or a big deal?