GOP Convention Report: Party Crashin’

Rep. Allen West (FL) at Republican Jewish Coalition event.

Rep. Allen West (FL) at Republican Jewish Coalition event.

Sunlight’s Party Time site is a great tool for journalists and bloggers to know when politicians are fundraising and with whom. At the political conventions, many media outlets are using it as a guide for determining their coverage of how delegates, special interests and big donors are spending their time. Below are some recent reports on events and political influence here in Tampa. We will report on similar occurrences in Charlotte for the DNC convention next week.

ABC News“Romney Party Yacht Flies Cayman Islands Flag”

Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaign toasted its top donors Wednesday aboard a 150-foot yacht flying the flag of the Cayman Islands.

The floating party, hosted by a Florida developer on his yacht “Cracker Bay,” was one of a dozen exclusive events meant to nurture those who have raised more than $1 million for Romney’s bid.

Huffington Post “RNC 2012: GOP Shadow Groups Eclipsing Party In Tampa”

A shift of power from the official Republican party apparatus to an informal coalition of megadonors, super PACs and nonprofit advocacy groups is underway here, as a rising shadow party increasingly drives GOP politics.

Mel Sembler, a Florida shopping mall magnate and a key member of the Romney campaign’s finance team, is planning to open his home Tuesday for a few hours to the pro-Romney super PAC Restore Our Future to let the group’s leaders chat up potential donors on their plans, according to GOP fundraisers who requested anonymity to preserve their relationship with the groups.

National Journal“The Real Party Business Is Behind the Scenes”

The formal business that happens on a convention floor—nominating a candidate, approving a platform, tweaking party rules—is mostly a formality these days. But in hotel-conference centers around Tampa, a different kind of business takes place as party officials check in with colleagues from across the country on races that will determine who controls Congress.

For delegates, conventions are a week of raucous parties, inspiring speeches, and late nights. But for party officials plotting election strategy, conventions are far from a booze-filled vacation.

USA Today “Editorial: At party conventions, real business is off-camera”

Just about everything wrong with money and politics is on garish display at the Republican and Democratic conventions this week and next: pay-for-access parties for big donors and corporations; not-very-subtle influence peddling; and equally un-subtle grubbing for campaign donations from special interest.

We are dubbing what’s happening here in Tampa the “Pyramid Convention.” That is the events for wealthy donors and influences outside of the official proceedings. For our take of what is going on each evening during the main speakers, follow along at Here is our recap from Tuesday.