Corporate Access at the Democratic Convention


Monday’s edition of the Rocky Mountain News, Kevin Vaughan has a detailed article about the 56 national corporations, from Allstate to Xerox, that are sponsoring/funding this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver. And as Vaughan writes, they all either do business with the federal government or they have pending legislation in Congress or regulation issues with the federal bureaucracy. (Of course, the same situation exists for the Republican National Convention to be held in Minneapolis as well. Expect to see a story about that soon from someplace.) What the corporations get for their sponsorship of the conventions is access to party leaders, members of Congress and their staff, and to possibly the soon to be occupants of the West Wing of the White House.

Vaughan interviewed Massie Ritsch of the Center for Responsive Politics about how corporations can’t make campaign contributions directly to political parties or to candidates, but companies are allowed to fund the party conventions. "Money from these corporate donors helps the party, it helps the candidate, and to call it anything other than a campaign contribution is to make a distinction without a difference," according to Ritsch.

On April 30th, USA Today ran an article by Ken Dilanian that details how the Democrats are exploiting loopholes in the new ethics law by offering access to lawmakers for what price. The Democrats are charging $30,000 to $200,00 for tickets to receptions attended by lawmakers. One of the more expensive tickets is for a reception honoring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and is available to those lobbyists who donate $155,000 over the period from January to June.

The Rocky Mountain News follows up their article with a list of the corporate sponsors to the DNC and their interests pending with Congress and or the federal government.