If you're a "Mile High" donor and give $52,800 to help Denver host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, you get invited to the biggest parties and are granted multiple advertising opportunities.Multiple advertising opportunities.
If you're "Presidential" [oh, I'm Presidential all right--ed.] and donate $1 million or more, you also get VIP access and credentials to the coveted Pepsi Center convention hall, choice hotel reservations, invites to private meetings with the mayor, the governor, Sen. Ken Salazar and Rep. Diana DeGette - and loads of other perks.Perks?
The story has some numbers:
Okay, we got the basics.
It could take $120 million to put on the Aug. 25-28, 2008, convention.
National Democratic officials who form the leadership nucleus for the Democratic National Convention Committee have rented office space in downtown Denver. Nearly a dozen have moved from Washington and set up their temporary Colorado homes. Next year, more than 150 will be working here full time.
Denver's host committee has been in high gear since January, trying to raise the $55 million in cash and donated services it must make available to the DNCC.
Officials are planning how the buses and light-rail trains and hotels will join to prepare for the arrival of the nearly 6,000 delegates, 15,000 media [ewwwwwww--ed.] and thousands of others expected.
For the host committee, the most pressing goal is the money. It missed a June deadline for $7.5 million and now must rally to meet its goal of $15 million by the end of the year. . . .
These days, a private donor gives money to the host city, not to the political party itself. The FEC counts donations to the host committee as civic contributions - money given to boost the host city's profile - and not as political gifts.
The distinction means the FEC doesn't cap how much may be given. As a result, the percentage of private money backing conventions has increased dramatically.
In Denver, the FEC has given $16.3 million from the presidential election fund, a voluntary taxpayer- supported account, to aid the Democratic Party's convention effort. Congress is considering a $50 million appropriation to fund the local and state security needs during the event.
Denver's host committee is expected to bring in $40.6 million in cash and $15 million in donated goods and services. . . .
The rise of private donations has come with a cost to the country's democratic ideals, critics say.It's fingerwaggin' time!
"(Corporate donors) want goodwill to pass their agenda, which is fine, but you don't see the ranks of Colorado's uninsured having a lavish party at the aquarium". . .Think she means the "which is fine" part? By the way, I see people having lavish (okay, not very lavish) parties outside the aquarium all the time, down by the Platte River, and not the ranks of the uninsured, neither, but actual bums.
. . . said Nancy Watzman of Denver, the director of research and investigative projects for Public Campaign, a nonprofit organization based in Washington that promotes publicly financed elections. "We need a level playing field."Ugh.
It all hinges on the lanyards. But what about those embarrassing donations from less, er, savory operations?
But the reality on the ground [ugh again--ed.] for Hickenlooper is that he and his peers have to find ways to convince corporations that their money is good for the community and for
their industry. . . .
One way to reconcile the donation as beneficial to the hometown was revealed last week when Colorado-based Vail Resorts announced it had donated $500,000 to the convention.
Vail Resorts' gift was packaged as supporting the goal of convention organizers to make the event the most environmentally friendly political convention ever.
[T]he strategy is more complicated with a $260,000 donation from Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp., a corporation with a global reach that is a frequent target [my link--ed.] of environmental and human-rights activists.Gadfly ex-Gov. Dick "duty to die" Lamm, who apparently has been reading sword and sorcery, gets the last word:
So far, Newmont Mining hasn't publicized its gift.
"I think the companies do realize this is a two-edged sword that will come back to haunt them," he said. "The mere fact that they're cautious is at least an advancement."