Although President Barack Obama has promised he won’t be taking any corporate money to support his re-election bid, the organizers of the 2012 Democratic National Convention have already shown that they will.
Through a back door financing method — the DNC “host committee” — the party can take in millions of dollars in corporate contributions and other in-kind donations, like telecommunications equipment or vehicles, The Charlotte Observer reports.
For the upcoming 2012 DNC Convention in Charlotte, the local newspaper reports that Duke Energy’s CEO, Jim Rogers, is already “quietly” raising up to $15 million for the host committee.
Part of that will come from corporate contributions and part of it will come from non-corporate contributions. “Among other things, the money will go toward organizing and hosting events for the expected 35,000 visitors,” the Charleston Observer reports.
Other corporations expected to make large donations to the DNC host committee include Belk Stores and Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is expected to make an equal contribution to the Republican Party’s equivalent event in Tampa.
The Democrats say the corporate contributions will not be used for anything specifically to do with the convention. The host committee’s corporate cash can only be used for marketing the city as an influx of about 35,000 people is expected during the convention.
DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse told The Daily Caller the host committee’s choice to use corporate funds for expenses outside of the convention would not violate President Obama’s pledge to entirely avert corporately-financed campaigns.
“For the first time ever, at the President’s insistence, the Democratic convention host committee will not accept any corporate cash or money from PACs or federal lobbyists,” Woodhouse said in an email. “Neither the Obama campaign nor the DNC take PAC or federal lobbyist money. This President has done more to ring the influence of special interests out of the political process than any President or presidential candidate ever.”
Republicans cry foul on the DNC’s line of reasoning. They say the president isn’t really cutting corporate cash out of convention funds, he’s only repurposing it.
“There was no fine print in Obama’s vow to not take any ‘corporate or PAC money.’” North Carolina GOP Communications Director Rob Lockwood told TheDC. “It’s a ‘yes or no’ issue, and the answer is YES, Obama and the Democrats are using corporate money for the convention. It is a violation of their pledge. The Democrats have consistently misled the public on this issue, and it’s time for them to tell the truth.”