Democrats Seek $70 Million Corporate Cash to Fund 2020 Convention

By Thomas Neuburger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

Every word a true one

Almost the very definition of corruption is trading money for favors while serving the public interest in public office. Almost, but not quite. There are other definitions, and Zephyr Teachout’s “self-serving use of public power for private ends” is still the best. But money-for-gifts-and-services is the easiest to identify and despise.

For those not permanently married to the Democratic or Republican parties as tribal identities, what’s to choose between the legalized corruption of Joe Biden and his family and the international-mob–infested corruption of Donald Trump and his? Not much, except perhaps in degree.

Do we really need evidence of a quid pro quo, a smoking gun, to see a body on the floor, its money in someone else’s hands, and a room where two walked in but only one walked out, to know a bribe occurred? If you can convict a person of murder on strong circumstantial evidence — and you can — you can convict (in your mind) for bribery the same way.

The DNC Responds to the Sanders No-Corporate-Money DNC Pledge

With that in mind — and remembering Bernie Sanders’ recent pledge to forbid corporate funding of the DNC and Democratic Party convention — let’s look at what the pre-Sanders DNC is up to:

Dems seek lobbyist cash to fund Milwaukee convention

Party representatives are meeting with lobbyists about funding the $70 million event as candidates swear off corporate-connected dollars.

Two top operatives planning the Democratic Party’s 2020 convention in Milwaukee went to K Street last week to pitch lobbyists on their plans for the $70 million event.

Against the backdrop of the Democratic primary, it was an awkward pairing — representatives for special interests meeting with top Democrats while the party’s leading presidential candidates reject corporate PAC and lobbyist cash. But Democratic National Committee officials explained during the meeting how corporations can help foot the bill for the convention, regardless of who the nominee is, addressing some lobbyists’ worries that a crusading left-wing nominee like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could try to reject corporate money, embarrassing convention sponsors.

Two things to note about that passage: First, “representatives for special interests” is fog-talk for corporate bribe-givers. Amnesty International is also a “special interest,” but no one considers them a nest of money-laundering bribery agents.

Second, did you see the inclusion of Elizabeth Warren along with Bernie Sanders in the last sentence? To my knowledge, the anti-corruption Warren hasn’t yet followed Sanders lead in forbidding corporate gifts to the DNC, its convention and her inauguration if she’s the nominee.

Here’s just part of what Sanders’ Issue page promises regarding corporate funding of his party if he’s the nominee and president:

As the Democratic nominee, Bernie will:

• Ban corporate contributions to the Democratic Party Convention and all related committees.

As president, Bernie will:

• Ban all corporate donations for inaugural events and cap individual donations to $500.

• End the influence of corporations at the DNC.

  • Ban donations from federal lobbyists and corporations.
  • Institute a lifetime lobbying ban for National Party Chairs and Co-Chairs
  • Ban Chairs and Co-Chairs from working for entities:
    • With federal contracts.
    • That are seeking government approval for projects or mergers.
    • Can reasonably be expected to have business before Congress in the future.

• Ban advertising during presidential primary debates.

• Institute a lifetime lobbying ban for former members of Congress and senior staffers.

Again, this is just some of what he’s promised on this issue. (He’s also going to overturn Buckley v. Valeo, the Supreme Court’s original sin when defining money as speech, but that’s a subject for another day.)

Will Elizabeth Warren Support Sanders’ No-Corporate-Money DNC Pledge?

Has anyone seen a response to this from Warren? I hope we get one, and I hope it’s as strong — I also hope she’s asked if she agrees with Sanders’ position during one of the debates — but given her “play nice with the Party” stances, I’m not overly optimistic. Here’s how the New York Times described her message to Party leaders: “While her liberal agenda may be further left than some in the Democratic establishment would prefer, she is a team player who is seeking to lead the party — not stage a hostile takeover of it.”

Either that’s inaccurate — a real possibility, since the Times has a horse in this race — or Warren is unlikely to be as full-throated about strangling the Party-wants-corporate-money monster in its bed, if she speaks about it at all.

Will the DNC Return Corporate Money If Sanders Is the Nominee? No.

So the Party is going full bore into K Street offices, selling what they can offer and hoping K Street will offer what they want — $70 million, for now.

And, at least according to Politico in the article cited above, the DNC won’t give back any what they manage to harvest from corporate sources if Sanders is the nominee: “The DNC doesn’t plan to return any corporate money that is donated to the convention regardless of the nominee, convention CEO Joe Solmonese told POLITICO.”

So that’s that.

We knew going in he’d be like that

There’s an interesting little war setting up between Sanders and the Party. No wonder no one but us “small people” want Sanders to win. It’s definitely a club, the DNC is in it, and we’re not even invited to hold their coats.

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  1. hamstak

    This rather sounds like “Pony up $70 mil, and we will again prevent Bernie Sanders from achieving the nomination.” Of course, what they don’t say is that they’d be willing to do it for free, as a matter of “principle”.

    1. Acacia

      Exactly. And Bernie would “ban donations from federal lobbyists and corporations“?

      There is no effin’ way he’s going to get the nomination.

  2. Oregoncharles

    This is news? I thought it was SOP.

    The conventions are just theater; it’s been decades since they mattered. And probably won’t this time, either.

    1. ambrit

      If there is no clear winner during the primary contests, the convention will be critical. That is where the DNC will steal the nomination from Sanders.

  3. ambrit

    Years ago, in a land far, far away, the mere appearance of impropriety was anathema.
    Our present political ‘system’ is proof of Gresham’s law. Instead of the original formulation, which is, “Bad money drives out good money,” it now is, “Political Money drives out the Public Good.”
    The facts are clear. Money in politics has a track record of enabling corruption. As far back as we have records, that fact has been known to be the truth.
    This money grubbing by the DNC is better known as “pandering.” It is also a sign that the DNC is not going to change it’s ways without a fight. Sanders had better prepare for a knock down drag out battle royale this time around.

    1. Louis Fyne

      My corollary to Gresham’s law, which fits my impression of the DNC (and many other extant places)—-corrupt, unethical, mean-spirited, selfish people drive out the good in organizations.

  4. skippy

    The main page header “The Democratic convention is shaping up as a classic example of “corruptoin”” reads corruptcoin is a keeper.

  5. The Rev Kev

    I don’t suppose that the Democrats would consider setting up a GoFundMe at all? That way, Bernie supporters could chip in for it as well.

  6. thoughtful person

    The same tactics as 2016 will be used to insure the right candidates win, pre convention.

    Just for fun let’s imagine Sanders does manage to get the delegate votes. He could organize a non corporate funded convention and the DNC could use the money for: funding a third candidate for president, funding blue dog house reps to insure gridlock in Congress, etc

  7. witters

    While her liberal agenda may be further left than some in the Democratic establishment would prefer, she is a team player who is seeking to lead the party — not stage a hostile takeover of it.

    Jeez. Obama again and the Hopey-Change.

  8. Ignacio

    This convention will definitely show if candidates like Sanders, and americans in general, need another political platform. The DNC is the very center of conservatism. I see the elections in US as a decision between populists and conservatives and the populists are poised to win, win, win in this framework.

  9. KLG

    What George Carlin said. This is just another lagging indicator of a second Trump victory, over either Biden or Warren. But Tom Perez maintains his position while swinging his big gavel, and the firm of Pelosi Schumer Obama & Clinton LLC continues to do business as usual. Win-Win.

  10. Hepativore

    While it would generate huge political fallout in the process, I am sure that the DNC as led by Tom Perez would openly deny Sanders the nomination whether he gets the necessary amount of delegates or not should all of their other attempts fail.

    In the process of deciding to openly appoint a DNC approved candidate, they would probably say something along the lines of “not wanting to risk Trump winning again” even though it would result in said victory for Trump, anyhow. The upside to all of this would be that the DNC would be forced to admit in front of the seething public just how they had no intention of adhering to the voter results of the primary in the first place.

    It might not be enough to cause a revolution, but I think that if and when the DNC does something like this, we can look forward to a permanent Republican majority for the foreseeable future as the Democratic Party will render itself irrelevant after something like this.

    1. Acacia

      Yes, this all makes sense, and especially in view of Sanders’ stated policy (elaborated by Neuberger, above) against corporate funding of the party.

      If the DNC gave him the nomination, he would derail their gravy train, cut off their air supply, smash their rice bowls — insert your favorite metaphor here — and why would they allow that?

      For me, the takeaway from the discussion on this page seems to be that the DNC will, by hook or by crook, simply not allow Bernie to receive the nomination.

      …or am I missing something?

      It seems like their strategy now might be to rally around Warren as the substitute for Biden when he drops out the race due to “health concerns”, and to push Warren as “almost the same as Bernie” to get all of Sanders’ voters (though we know they really aren’t the same at all), after he gets kneecapped by the DNC.

  11. DonCoyote

    Stumbled across this today, and this thread seemed as good a place as any to post it:

    Hippie Punching (definition 2 from the Urban Dictionary):

    The practice common among establishment centrists of ritualistically denigrating progressives in order to win over imaginary swing voters and David Brooks. Sometimes misinterpreted as a boneheaded political mistake, it’s actually a sign of deep and unselfish commitment to pleasing owners and professionals even at the cost of losing elections.
    After a pleasant afternoon of tongue-kissing insurance lobbyists, David Axelrod decided to go down to the Washington Post for some hippie punching.

  12. JohnnySacks

    I’m still trying to get my head around the $70 million amount – what orifice did they pull that out of?. How in hell does one even spend $70 million and in the end, have nothing of any value? I’ve lived the martial law feeding frenzy inflicted on Boston first hand in 2004 and know it’ll sure buy an awful lot of tear gas, crowd fencing, riot gear, and thug caste overtime. For perspective, $70 million will provide 17,500 employees 4 days pay at $1,000 per day.

    1. Plenue

      I was going to say. 70 million is more than most (any?) major party in any other country in the world spends on their entire election campaign.

  13. DHG

    Satan runs the whole show, right, left, middle, rear, front, etc. You get the picture. its all his system and his goal is to make sure you all die with him for failing to repent and take the side of God.

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