Exclusive: Marc Leder, Romney fundraiser, speaks out

September 18, 2012, 8:32 PM UTC

FORTUNE — Mitt Romney has spent the past day playing defense, after a video was released of the GOP presidential candidate disparaging 47% of Americans during a private fundraising dinner.

Now Romney’s host that evening, private equity executive Marc Leder, is speaking out.

In a statement first given to Fortune, Leder says: “I hosted a fundraiser for an old friend in May. I believe all Americans should have the opportunity to succeed, to improve their lives, and to build even better lives for their children. I have supported people from both political parties who share this view and make it a priority, even though their ideas on how to achieve it may differ.”

Leder, who co-founded private equity firm Sun Capital Partners back in 1999, declined to comment specifically on Romney’s suggestion that the 47% of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax don’t take “personal responsibility and care for their lives.” A spokesman said it wasn’t Leder’s place to get into the details, as he is a private businessman who isn’t running for office.

Leder hosted the $50,000 per head dinner at his Boca Raton home back in May for between 40 and 50 people. It followed an earlier Romney event for a few hundred people at a nearby country club, and was the third time that Leder had hosted a Romney dinner in his home (the first one being in 2004).

He has not yet watched the entire video excerpts posted yesterday by Mother Jones, having spent most of this morning in a senior partners meeting for Sun Capital.

According to Federal Election Commission records, Leder has personally donated more than $230,000 to Romney’s current presidential bid (mostly via PAC contributions).

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