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POLITICS

Lady Gaga turned down $1 million to perform during RNC

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio

Not even a million dollars could convince Lady Gaga to perform during last summer's Republican National Convention.

The snub by the pop star is included in a lawsuit filed by a powerful Republican nonprofit fundraising organization, American Action Network, against a vendor whose job was to stage entertainment just outside the doors to the GOP's convention in August.

Documents filed with the lawsuit show that other entertainers also said "no thanks" to appearing at the GOP convention including Dolly Parton and the rapper Pitbull, who Republicans hoped to feature at an event for the Hispanic Leadership Network.

Many entertainers, including Journey and Lynyrd Skynyrd, agreed to perform at the convention, but Lady Gaga's offer was the most lucrative, according to an email sent last summer by AAN's director of development, Pete Meachum.

"See what it would take to get Gaga instead of Dolly," Meachum requests of Rob Jennings, who heads Cater America LLC, an event production company based in Wyoming.

Jennings, whose company is being sued by AAN, was instructed by Meachum to try to make the offer to Lady Gaga more tempting by telling her it would be an event "honoring women who run for public office."

Meachum, who is a former aide to House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and is now chief of staff for Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., wanted Lady Gaga to perform on Monday, Aug. 27, the evening of the convention's first official day.

"Also, tell them that $150,000 will go towards a domestic violence shelter," Meachum further instructed Jennings in an effort to make the offer harder for Lady Gaga to refuse.

American Action Network is a 501c(4) organization headed by former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., and raises money to support GOP candidates for House seats. The organization is suing Cater America in an effort to recover $350,000 that AAN officials say they lost in part when a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert arranged by Cater America was canceled. The concert could not take place because Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency as Hurricane Isaac churned toward Tampa.

In the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, AAN says most of the money it seeks represents a loan that Jennings has failed to repay.

Cater America plans to countersue, saying AAN reneged on a deal to pay $500,000 for the rock band Journey, which performed a 90-minute set on Aug. 30, the final night of the convention, and for other expenses incurred by Cater America that it says AAN had promised to cover.

Cater America also contends AAN violated an agreement not to give away tickets. National Republican Congressional Committee Executive Director Guy Harrison was among the NRCC staff who attended a Kid Rock concert put on by Cater America on Aug. 29. American Action Network spokesman Dan Conston told The Washington Examiner that AAN "invited some close personal friends from nongovernmental organizations on a personal basis."

Editors Note: Neither Cater America LLC nor American Action Network are connected to or affliated with the Republican National Convention. 

sferrechio@washingtonexaminer.com

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