Article updated at 4:51 p.m. EST.
President-elect Donald Trump’s sons Eric and Donald Jr. have helped launch a nonprofit group that is selling access to their father as well as hunting trips with themselves as part of an inauguration fundraising party.
The Trump sons are listed as directors for the Opening Day Foundation, a nonprofit formed in Texas last week, according to its certificate of formation. The Center for Public Integrity
was first to report on the group’s creation.
The foundation — organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, meaning it won’t be required to disclose its donors — is throwing what looks to be a massive fundraiser in Washington the day after Trump’s inauguration.
Called "Opening Day 2017," the event will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center the evening of Jan. 21.
The Trump transition team has said the president-elect’s sons are not involved in the event. In a statement issued this afternoon, Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the transition effort, said, "The Opening Day event and details that have been reported are merely initial concepts that have not been approved or pursued by the Trump family."
Hicks said, "Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are avid outdoorsmen and supporters of conservation efforts, which align with the goals of this event, however they are not involved in any capacity."
The invitation lists several amenity packages for donors, including the $1 million "Bald Eagle" that includes a private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests with President Trump, along with a "Multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump."
"Opening Day is your opportunity to play a significant role as our family commemorates the inauguration of our father, friend and President Donald J. Trump. Join us as we celebrate the great American tradition of outdoor sporting, shooting, fishing and conservation," the invitation says.
In addition, "all net proceeds" from the fundraiser are to be donated to unnamed "conservation charities."
Country music star Toby Keith is expected to perform and guests’ attire should be "camouflage & cufflinks," although "jeans, boots and hats are welcome," according to the fundraiser’s invitation, which was first reported on by TMZ.
In an email to E&E News, Walter Kinzie, CEO and executive producer of Encore Live, confirmed his company was producing the event on behalf of the Opening Day Foundation.
Kinzie said his company is "proud to organize Opening Day, an event honoring the president-elect, his family and all Americans."
"This celebration, independent from official inaugural events sponsored by the Presidential Inaugural Committee, is in support of conservation organizations all over our beautiful country. All net proceeds from this private event will be donated to support conservation efforts," Kinzie said.
Among the other packages, the $500,000 "Grizzly Bear" includes a private reception for eight guests with Trump as well as a multiday hunting or fishing excursion with Eric or Donald Jr. "Elk," priced at $250,000, includes an autographed guitar by one of the event’s performers as well as an Outfitter’s Pro Package with commemorative custom details and 20 VIP guest tickets. At $100,000, "Marlin" secures eight VIP tickets and an Outfitter’s Pro Package, among other perks.
Also mentioned on the invitation are Alison McIntosh and Sam McEntire of the Dallas-based McIntosh Co. Inc., a fundraising and consulting firm whose website noted that it has also worked for the presidential campaigns of Republicans Mitt Romney and John McCain.
Both sons are avid hunters and were active in their father’s presidential campaign. Donald Jr. was involved in outreach to hunting and fishing groups and reportedly involved in the selection of Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) to be Trump’s Interior secretary pick.
The invitation states: "Something special happens when you step into nature. The world slows down just a bit, and you get a chance to breathe. From sea to sea, the great outdoors is one of America’s greatest national treasures — and we have a responsibility to protect and preserve it."
Eric and Donald Jr. are not expected to serve in the Trump administration, though they do have roles on the transition team. Once Trump is in office, his sons are expected to take over management of the Trump Organization, the president-elect’s company.
Involvement by Trump’s children in the transition efforts as well as charitable actions selling access to a future president and his administration have concerned ethics watchdogs. An auction that offered a private meeting with Trump’s daughter Ivanka in exchange for a charitable donation was recently canceled, according to The New York Times.
In a statement, Meredith McGehee of the campaign finance reform group Issue One said, "The news that the Opening Day Foundation, founded by President-elect Trump’s sons, is practicing the tawdry selling of access while hiding behind the veil of charitable giving, is alarming."
She added, "This move damages the public’s opinion of government and our elected leaders. As we’re seeing over and over again, those who are giving donations to these causes are convinced they are receiving special access and influence."