How much would you need to throw a great party for several thousand friends? Imagine what you could do with $1 million. The possibilities boggle the mind.
I’m thinking little meatballs served with 14-carat gold toothpicks. Now, imagine if you had $112 million at your disposal. That’s how much money corporate sponsors and lobbyists are contributing to this year’s Democratic and Republican conventions, events that have become less about the American political process and more about seeing who can throw the most lavish soirees.
A report released today by Public Citizen shows how corporations and lobbyists are exploiting loopholes in election law and congressional ethics rules to turn the conventions into a place where they can wine and dine lawmakers and lobby them away from Capitol Hill.
Some of these parties appear to cross the line and put lawmakers who attend in violation of their ethics rules, the report says. You can learn more and read the Public Citizen report at www.SayNoToLobbyists.org.
The Sunlight Foundation’s blog Party Time and the Campaign Finance Institute provide excellent resources to keep up with all the shenanigans. Party Time even has a list of the entertainment the Dems lined up next week in Denver, as well as how the GOP will get down later in the Twin Cities.
Looks like a lot of parties and not much real business. It all adds up to a week-long TV commercial for the candidates, bought and paid for by corporate America.
Don’t think for a minute, though, that these companies and lobbyists pony up all this cash without some sort of return on their investment. The underlying message to lawmakers is clear: Eat, drink, enjoy the show. Have a good time on us. And remember how well we treated you when we come calling about that legislation we don’t like or that government contract we want.
Want to know what you can do? Take action. Tell Congress to put voters first! Urge your members of Congress to stay away from big money at the conventions and honor our campaign finance and ethics laws.