Democrats Broke Pledge by Taking Corporate Convention Cash

President Barack Obama speaks to the delegation at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.Harry E. Walker/Mct/Zuma

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


In the lead-up to their party’s convention in Charlotte last month, top Democrats vowed to fund their every-four-years gala solely with individual donations. “We will make this the first convention in history that does not accept any funds from lobbyists, corporations, or political action committees,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the DNC chairwoman, said last year. That pledge, it turns out, was a whole lot of bluster.

New election filings show that the Democratic National Convention benefited from millions in corporate cash. The convention took in at least $5 million in corporate money to rent the Time Warner Cable basketball arena that served as the convention hall. Convention officials also tapped almost $8 million from a line of credit from Duke Energy, a Charlotte-based electricity company with close ties to the Obama administration. The DNC banked a million more in in-kind contributions from corporations such as AT&T, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, and Costco. Labor unions gave nearly $6 million to the convention as well, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

A separate fund created to support the convention, New American City, also brought in corporate money. Bank of America gave $5 million, Duke Energy contributed $4.1 million, and AT&T chipped in $1 million.

DNC spokeswoman Melanie Roussell told the AP that convention officials broke no laws in raising corporate money. Any fundraising restrictions, Roussell said, were self-imposed by conventional officials. In all, Democrats’ official convention fund raised $24 million to supplement the $18 million provided by taxpayers. New American City raised $19 million.

The GOP had no qualms raising corporate cash, and it ultimately hauled in nearly $56 million for its convention held in Tampa in late August. The RNC’s corporate donors included Archer Daniels Midland, Bacardi, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Chevron, Citigroup, Comcast, CSX Corporation, Duke Energy, Ernst & Young, FedEx, Ford, General Electric, Google, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin, Walmart, Wells Fargo, and Xerox Corporation. GOP mega-donor Sheldon Adelson chipped in $5 million, while industrialist David Koch and investor John Paulson both gave $1 million.

More Mother Jones reporting on Dark Money

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate