Amy Goodman's article, Who’s Paying for the Conventions?, on Truthdig yesterday, describes huge corporate payments the Democratic and Republican presidential nominating conventions are receiving. These payments are in addition to the taxpayer funding these conventions receive, as I described in a previous post. Amy's article highlights a June 2008 report by the Campaign Finance Institute analyzing donors to the major party conventions.
The CFI report states that both Democrats and Republicans are using local “host committees” in Denver and Minneapolis-St. Paul as vehicles for unlimited soft money contributions to their respective 2008 party conventions. CFI's analysis is based on documents received from freedom of information requests to Governors and Mayors in Colorado and Minnesota which are excerpted in the report and its appendices.
According to the CFI report, the Federal Election Commission and Internal Revenue Service have permitted a vast expansion of host committee fundraising on the grounds that since these organizations are nonpartisan “charities” or “business leagues,” contributing to them does not present an issue of potential political corruption or appearance of corruption. But CFI’s investigation established that Republican federal and other elected officials, their financiers and party operatives, are asking for largely corporate money to fund the Republican convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul. And their Democratic equivalents are doing the same for their convention in Denver.
The CFI report shows that the 107 organizational donors to the convention host committees are drawing directly upon their corporate treasuries to help provide $55 million in private financing to the Democratic convention in Denver and $57 million for the Republican conclave in Minneapolis-St. Paul. CFI reports that among the largest pledges or contributions to host committees are: Qwest Communications ($6 million for each convention), Comcast ($5 million for Democrats), Xcel Energy ($2.25 million for Democrats and $1.2 million for Republicans), United Health Group ($1.5 million for Republicans but undefined for Democrats), Union Pacific ($1 million for Democrats), Molson Coors Brewing ($1 million for Democrats), and St. Jude Medical ($1 million for Republicans).
Voters should watch these numbers and vote Green. Our Green Party convention in Chicago two weeks ago was paid for entirely by individual contributors to our party and by the delegates themselves.