In Broad Daylight: Will You Be My Sponsor?


The Pfizer-General Motors-Northwest Airlines-United-Coors Democratic and Republican conventions are looking for more sponsors; Dodd doesn’t understand acronyms; sometimes it’s not really disclosure; bad campaign donations; ethics complaints; angry foreigners; and our favorite frozen food fan, William Jefferson. Only the Sunlight Foundation sponsors this news:

The next big moment in the 2008 Presidential election will be the late-summer nominating conventions where a carefully staged and scripted performance will be fueled by large corporate donations despite the reformer images presented by the two nominees. Participants can expect discounted plane tickets, free cars, hot parties, and lobbyists, lobbyists, lobbyists. The inverse of AA, sponsors don’t help you with your problem, they make it worse. Both convention organizing committees have released documents to leading corporate fundraisers informing them that certain levels of contributions will lead to access to elected officials. The Republican convention packet explains to donors that they will be able to “connect with influential government officials (cabinet, president, next president).” The Democratic convention produced a “corporate sponsorship package” that gets you into events with Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter, Sen. Ken Salazar, among others. To his credit, Democratic nominee Barack Obama wants to change the corporate funding model for conventions.

Sen. Chris Dodd claims that he did nothing wrong when he received a preferential mortgage from Countrywide Financial because he did not know that the VIP program meant he would be treated with preference. I can’t decide if this makes Sen. Chris Dodd totally out of touch or totally in touch with the average American. Sen. Kent Conrad continues to defend his name, stating that he received preferential treatment unknowingly. Conrad has donated the estimated amount of money he saved from the treatment to charity.

Speaking of congressional mortgages and homes, you won’t always find them on the personal financial disclosures that lawmakers are required to file. Why? Because lawmakers don’t have to list personal residences that don’t create rental income. The Politico writes, “They don’t have to disclose loan amounts. They don’t have to disclose loan rates. And they don’t have to disclose mortgage lenders.” Sen. John Cornyn, ranking Ethics Committee member, states that he would like to see changes in personal financial disclosure forms.

Rep. Mary Bono Mack is being asked about campaign contributions from Inland Empire businessmen currently under investigation for contributions to state-level California politicians.

CREW files an ethics complaint against “dead-beat congresswoman” Laura Richardson.

Foreign companies that own U.S.-based subsidiaries are fighting back against proposed transparency reforms by Sen. Chuck Schumer to close loopholes in the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The federal grant at the center of the indictment of family members of Rep. William Jefferson began as an earmark inserted at the last minute into an appropriations bill. In an unsurprising turn of events, no lawmaker has taken credit for the earmark.