Federal Politics

Published — September 4, 2012 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Corporate cash helps fuel Democratic convention despite pledges

Production crew makes final preparation on the stage for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. David Goldman/AP

New group accepts company money

Introduction

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — While Democrats have touted their grassroots fundraising efforts for the 2012 Democratic National Convention, deep-pocketed corporate donors are helping underwrite the event.

Among the corporate sponsors at the Charlotte convention: AT&T Inc., Bank of America, Duke Energy, Time Warner Cable, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth Group, Piedmont Natural Gas, US Airways and law and lobbying firm McGuireWoods.

The corporate sponsorship appears to fly in the face of the Democrats’ pledge to host a “people’s convention.”

The party’s 2012 “host committee” is not accepting contributions from corporations, lobbyists and political action committees. Democrats also capped how much money individuals can give at $100,000.

But the party is accepting in-kind donations from corporate firms. In addition, a second nonprofit, called “New American City” was established in May to “defray” administrative expenses and other costs. New American City does accept corporate money.

The exact levels of these companies’ financial support won’t be known until mid-October when filings will be submitted to the Federal Election Commission.

Like their GOP counterparts, the Democrats received about $18 million in public funding to finance their convention. And both parties raised tens of millions of additional dollars, funneled through nonprofit host committees that help facilitate the events.

Host committees have traditionally relied on corporate funders but top Democratic leaders — including President Barack Obama, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla. and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro — all penned solicitations aimed at small-dollar donors.

“This convention is relying on a grassroots network made up of people like you to give small amounts to help make this convention a success,” Obama wrote in one typical fundraising appeal.

A few lucky donors won trips to Charlotte and many had their names memorialized on the exterior of on a pro-Obama NASCAR stock car displayed at the convention.

When asked by the Center for Public Integrity about this fundraising experiment during a press conference Monday, Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan said it was a “huge success.”

“We’re thrilled to have done it this way,” Kerrigan said. “[We are] thrilled with the way it worked.”

Several unions were listed as sponsors, despite their displeasure with the selection of “right-to-work” state North Carolina as host of the convention.

Among them:

  • Service Employees International Union
  • American Federation of Teachers
  • United Food and Commercial Workers
  • American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
  • National Education Association
  • United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States, Canada and Australia
  • International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers
  • National Air Traffic Controllers Association
  • United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America.

In 2008, when the Democrats hosted their national convention in Denver, unions accounted for about $9 million of the approximately $63 million raised by the host committee, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of federal records.

That year, the SEIU, Laborers’ International Union, National Education Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the American Federation of Teachers each gave the host committee between $1 million and $1.5 million, according to FEC records.

Many of the sponsors of the Democratic convention were also sponsors of the host committee in Tampa for last week’s Republican National Convention.

“The Coca-Cola Company believes we have a role to play in the political process and that includes helping to make the political conventions a success,” said Coca-Cola spokeswoman Nancy Bailey.

For John Sebree, the senior vice president of public policy with Florida REALTORS, which had a role in supporting events at both conventions, the appeal of being involved as a sponsor is clear.

“Out of sight is out of mind,” said Sebree. “If we’re not there, then someone else is telling their story — and not ours.”

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
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j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
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hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
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Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
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South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
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SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
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David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.