Before President Donald Trump spoke to a crowd of more than 1,000 at a Greenville fundraiser for Gov. Henry McMaster in October, he sat down with a group of 30 people invited by the governor’s campaign.
Almost all of those at the 20-minute gathering to discuss economic development have donated to McMaster’s 2018 campaign.
Those meeting with the president, their relatives, and their companies and affiliates collectively contributed at least $260,000 through the end of 2017, according to the governor’s financial disclosures.
Most of those around the table at the Embassy Suites were business owners and executives from South Carolina, but about one-third came from out-of-state, including corporate lobbyists, according to a list obtained by Palmetto Politics.
They included chiefs from a Georgia payday lender, a Tennessee insurer, a Washington real estate developer and a North Carolina tobacco conglomerate.
Two of the three solar power executives in attendance came from out West.
The group also included a California venture capitalist tied to a federal probe for failing to register with the Justice Department that his company was paid by a foreign government — Sri Lanka, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine.
Imaad Zuberi, his family and affiliated companies contributed $49,000 to McMaster, records show. He donated $1 million to Trump's inaugural committee after being a large bundler to President Barack Obama and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
The outcome of the 2015 probe is unclear. Efforts to reach Zuberi were unsuccessful. The McMaster campaign said of Zuberi: “The U.S. Secret Service saw fit to approve him for previous events, as well as for this one.”
McMaster’s wife and two children sat with the president, along with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham and U.S. Rep Joe Wilson, who flew on Air Force One with Trump.
David Wilkins, a former S.C. House speaker and ambassador to Canada who is a major political mover, attended, too, as did Pam Evette, a Travelers Rest business owner, who would be named McMaster’s 2018 lieutenant governor running mate a month after the meeting.
There were state business leaders — including the heads of AT&T and Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as representatives from major S.C. employers Boeing and Samsung.
Executives from South Carolina-based pharmaceutical, payday lending, gaming, real estate, investment bank and law firms also attended.
And not to be left out of the sit-down were ties to the biggest political story of the year. Leaders with two companies that were contractors on the failed S.C. nuclear plant expansion — Texas-based Fluor and Louisiana-based CB&I — got to meet with Trump.
The full list of attendees at the roundtable with President Trump:
- Gov. Henry McMaster and Peggy McMaster, with children Henry McMaster Jr. and Mary Rogers McMaster
- U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham
- U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson
- Dan Adams, CEO of Greenville-based investment banking firm The Capital Corp
- Bill Arowood, president of Tennessee-based Accident Insurance Co.
- Rod Aycox, president of Georgia-based payday lender Select Management Resources
- Wallace Cheves, managing partner of Greenville-based Sky Boat Gaming
- Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Jon Downey, president of Charleston-based solar firm Southern Current
- Pam Evette, CEO of Travelers Rest-based workplace human resources firm Quality Business Solutions
- David Evette, operations director for Quality Business Solutions
- Franklin Haney, president of Washington, D.C.-based real estate firm FLH Co.
- Jamal Haughton, general counsel for Samsung Electronics America
- Tim Keating, senior vice president of government operations for Boeing
- Pam Lackey, president of AT&T South Carolina
- Jim Lamon, founder of Arizona-based solar firm DEPCOM Power
- Jennifer Lowe, senior vice president for national strategy for Boeing
- Dave Marventano, senior vice president for government relations for Dallas-based construction firm Fluor
- Sam Mathur, president of Florence-based IRIX Pharmaceuticals
- Matt McGovern, CEO of California-based solar firm Cypress Creek Renewables
- Brice O’Brien, executive vice president of public affairs for North Carolina-based Reynolds American Inc.
- Patrick O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Spartanburg-based payday lender Advance America
- Paul Sparks, partner in Greenville-based RealOp Investments
- John White, partner in Spartanburg law firm Harrison White
- David Wilkins, partner in Nelson Mullins law firm and former ambassador to Canada
- Bobby Wilson, senior vice president at Louisiana-based energy contractor CB&I
- Imaad Zuberi, CEO of California-based venture capital firm Avenue Ventures
Compiled by Andy Shain