Last week’s Republican National Convention was a no-holds-barred party for lobbyists for Big Business. From free espresso from fracking lobbyists to nightly parties with Coca Cola and weapons lobbyists, Big Money had a great time at the convention last week.
But these corporations aren’t exactly sitting on the sidelines at the Democratic convention this week.
It’s true that the host committee for the convention took an historic and important step of for the first time ever refusing to take any donations from lobbyists or corporations.
But that isn’t stopping Big Business. Here’s a few ways it has found to influence the convention, anyway:
- Hosting Watch Events Outside The Convention: The America Petroleum Institute, American Gas Association, Credit Union National Association, Pfizer, and others will be hosting watch parties around a mile away from Bank of America stadium.
- Sponsorships: The Washington Examiner’s Tim Carney shows off a swag bag that the host committee is giving to journalists. Inside the bag are all sorts of goodies that sponsors of the convention are giving away. These include a pedometer from United Health Group and water bottles from Piedmont Natural Gas. Carney notes that corporations like Wells Fargo and Florida Crystals Corporation (which is a major force of the sugar lobby) are on the sponsor list as well. Duke Energy, notorious for battling any effort to curb climate change, extended a $10 million line of credit for the party to hold the convention, and its CEO has given $100,000 to the host committee.
- Parties, Parties, And More Parties: Elite lobbyists have been setting up all sorts of events for lawmakers to be wined and dined. The New York Times has a write-up of one Charlotte event featuring Tony and Heather Podesta, two of the most well-connected Democratic Party lobbyists. The Podesta’s event on Monday hosted executives from Wal-Mart, Blue Shield and others while also hosting politicos such as Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. In addition to bringing together corporate executives and politicians, the Podestas brought all sorts of food, everything from “bite-size biscuit-and-country-ham sandwiches, deviled eggs with pickled okra, duck and corn quesadillas, and bourbon molasses truffles.”
The Democrats will boast of sticking up for the little guy and taking on Big Business during their convention speeches this week. And by most measures, they do accomplish these tasks far better than the opposition party. But as the lavish events hosted by lobbyists and corporations right outside the convention walls (and in the swag bags) show, corporations still have far too much influence in even the Democratic Party.