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Cheney could visit JACC for fundraiser

Meghan Martin | Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Vice President Dick Cheney is slated to be the keynote speaker at a fundraising luncheon for Republican Indiana Congressman Chris Chocola on Oct. 9 in the Joyce Center.

According to invitations sent out for the event, Cheney, who visited the area in May 2002 during Chocola’s bid for his current Congressional seat, will address a $250-per-plate crowd of supporters that Thursday.

For security reasons, Chocola’s office would not officially confirm the vice president’s visit.

“We cannot confirm the vice president’s schedule,” Chocola spokesman Brooks Kochvar said. “The White House press office will say the same thing. For security reasons, they will not publicize his schedule until 48 hours in advance.”

Cheney’s office could not be reached for comment.

If the vice president does participate in the luncheon, a $2,000-per-couple reception will be held before the signature event, which will give patrons the opportunity to meet and pose for photographs with him.

Cheney’s last visit to South Bend raised over $250,000 for Chocola’s initial congressional bid, and October’s event, with 3,500 invitations already sent out, has the potential to raise even more for the incumbent’s re-election campaign.

The vice president, whose visit is expected to serve in a strictly fundraising capacity, is not expected to address students or participate in any University functions. Although the event will be held at the Joyce Center, Notre Dame is not involved in sponsoring Cheney’s visit.

“We’re just renting the facility,” Kochvar said. “Notre Dame doesn’t give us the facility – we rent it as anyone else would.”

University spokesman Matt Storin said that Notre Dame will be renting use of the Joyce Center to the event’s planners as a business transaction, a common practice with a venue so large and publicly accessible.

“We do rent our facilities out,” he said. “The Joyce Center is regularly rented out … There are occasional activities held there that are unrelated to the University. This is one of them.”

Storin said that University policy does not permit the endorsement of political candidates, and Notre Dame will therefore have no involvement in the event or Chocola’s campaign itself.

“There is a policy that allows for politicians who are running for office to speak on campus on substantive issues,” he said. “When that situation arises, we are certain to invite their opponent to speak, as well … Otherwise, we would not, for example, host a fundraising event, but we would rent the Joyce Center out as a business move.”