First in a series on national conventions of the two major parties
By Josey Ballenger
(Washington, September 14) Anyone who thought the Democratic National Convention was only about presidential nominee Al Gore must have missed the nonstop parties aimed at wining and dining the Democratic Party's biggest donors.
The following is a compilation of the many private, invitation-only parties held in the Los Angeles area from before the convention gavel officially opened the proceedings Aug. 14 through the week-long, late-night soir�es to the farewells on Aug. 17. (Parties open to the public are noted below.)
The Democrats capitalized on the Tinseltown location, with several movie industry luminaries opening their homes to accommodate stars from the political and entertainment worlds. Despite a few remarks by vice presidential hopeful Joseph Lieberman on his continued commitment to rein in the entertainment industry's excesses, his longstanding attacks on the industry's proclivity for violence and sex seemed as far away as Washington.
Neither the Democratic Party's main fund-raising organ, the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee nor the Democratic Leadership Council would reveal the corporate sponsors, guest lists or costs associated with the various breakfasts, lunches, welcoming receptions and late-night f�tes they hosted. Similarly, company spokesmen and women gave few, if any, details of events they underwrote.
But the DNC-affiliated Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee provided The Public i with a list* of its convention partners, although it did not break down the sponsors event by event. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics obtained the DSCC's list** of convention contributors and is credited with gathering much of the Democratic National Convention event information and general campaign contribution data in the 1999-2000 election cycle, disclosed below. The Millennium Convention Project Web site (www.conventioninsider.com), a collaborative project between the two major political parties, also provided some insights.
In addition, individual legislators' offices and other political party sources provided information to The Public i, and the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the Associated Press reported much of the event information collated below.
None of the corporate or individual sponsors revealed how much their events cost, with the few exceptions noted.
More details of convention fund raising and campaigning expenditures will be available in the next few months as party committees and political action committees (PACs) file their August income and expenditures to the Federal Election Commission. But there is a catch: Committees do not have to disclose the flow of money for events they hosted but that were fully underwritten by corporate, labor or other sponsors.
The L.A. Convention 2000 Host Committee � which received cash, in-kind goods and services in excess of $28 million from corporations, foundations and individuals � and the $13.5 million, federally funded Democratic National Convention Committee are required to file their convention balance sheets with the FEC by mid-October, an FEC official said.
Josey Ballenger is a free-lance writer based in Washington, D.C.
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