Dems take $20 million in corporate money for convention
It’s been amusing to see Democrats stumble repeatedly over the site name of their venue for Barack Obama’s acceptance speech on Thursday, Bank of America Stadium. Some have taken to calling it “Panthers Stadium” in order to distance themselves from the despised banking industry, as local station WCNC noticed last week:
The name change is causing some political whispering. Democrats, like Donna Brazille and DNC Chair Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, have repeatedly substituted the major banking company’s name for something else when referring to the site.
Some believe the party doesn’t want to be associated with the bank at the convention because of public frustrations during uncertain financial times.
WCNC also hears that Democrats want to cover the Bank of America sign, which convention officials didn’t exactly deny:
When asked if it would cover up Bank of America’s signage at the stadium, DNCC officials would not comment specifically. However, they did indicate it is customary to cover signage at any arena or stadium to help branding for the convention.
Imagine what it will take to cover up the fact that the convention itself will get funded by … Bank of America. And Wells Fargo. And a lobbying firm. And a few other corporations that will kick in sponsorship money to pay the bills, despite more than a year of insistence from DNC officials that corporate money would not be taken to pay for the event:
Companies including Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) have contributed $20 million toward the cost of the Democratic National Convention, helping fund an event that Democrats initially said wouldn’t accept corporate money, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Organizers of this year’s convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, turned to corporations after the city’s host committee struggled to reach its $36.7 million fundraising goal, according to the people, who requested anonymity.
Last year, the Charlotte host committee set up a separate entity called New American City Inc., to take corporate cash and to which Bank of America and Wells Fargo contributed, according to the people. The two banks were on a list of corporate donors released Sept. 1 by the host committee that also named AT&T Inc. (T), US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) and the law-and- lobbying firm McGuireWoods LLP.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with these arrangements. It’s just that all of the holier-than-thou sanctimony on fundraising which preceded this event certainly looks foolish now, perhaps especially with the inclusion of the lobbyist group. That shouldn’t be a big surprise, however, since the lobbying industry feasted on the opportunities presented by Obama in his stimulus package and ObamaCare. Lobbyists have been grateful to Obama ever since.