Before the Democratic National Convention, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said Democrats would not finance the convention with special-interest money or corporate donations. She went on to say they did not need such money because convention organizers had “exceeded” the fundraising bar.
It turns out she was lying.
When Democrats could not meet their fundraising goals for the convention, they created a host committee that could accept corporate contributions to pay the convention’s costs. Costs included $900,000 to rent Bank of America Stadium, where the Carolina Panthers football team plays. The stadium went unused as Democrats moved the final night of the convention indoors due to the threat of rain. Democrats were eager to move the convention indoors because they were afraid they could not fill the football stadium to capacity.
According to Federal Election Commission reports filed Wednesday, which the Los Angeles Times reviewed, Democrats used $5 million “from a committee financed by companies such as Bank of America, Duke Energy and AT&T” after organized failed to reach their $36.7-million goal.
Democrats could only raise $24.1 million for the convention so the host committee “drew nearly $8 million of a $10-million line of credit provided by Duke Energy” and the created the New American City committee, which paid for hospitality and administrative costs. New American City “raised $19 million — nearly all from corporations,” which included Bank of America, AT&T, and Time Warner Cable in addition Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks Studios.
Corporations such as Microsoft and Coca-Cola that could not technically donate cash to the DNC donated goods and services and unions donated at least 2.65 million, according to FEC reports.
David Donnelly, the executive director of the public interest Public Campaign Action Fund, told the Times when “Democrats had to choose between their pledge or cutting back on the excessive extravagance of modern-day conventions, they chose extravagance.”
Obama and Democrats have railed against the corrupting influence of money in politics, but this is yet another instance in which their words have rung hollow.