Just read an interesting NYT story about how big businesses -- including many major manufacturers like Coca-Cola, GM, Pfizer, Hewlett-Packard and others -- are looking for some lobbying legroom by ponying up money to fund the party conventions.
According to the story, these "donations to host committees" are tax-deductible, which makes me wonder why more large corporations aren't climbing on board as it reduces taxable income while reaching a captive audience of extremely powerful people.
A total of $112 million in private money was raised through the sale of sponsorships by host committees at both conventions to finance them.
Donations to the host committees are tax deductible, and they come with a promise of political access that is harder to come by under new ethics rules passed by Congress last year.
Corporations are banned from making direct political contributions, but they can write six- and seven-figure checks and receive V.I.P. credentials to the convention floor, invitations to private events with members of Congress, and space to set up logo-plastered booths at convention events. (They can even put their logo on key cards at the hotels where delegates are staying.)
With the Republican convention currently in suspended animation, one has to wonder whether the manufacturers and other corporations who bought event sponsorships at the St. Paul convention are looking for their money back -- or whether the cash-strapped Republicans, who have endured fundraising and recruitment challenges and an embezzlement scandal, are ready (or even able) to give it, if asked.
Me, I'm wondering if anyone is funding Ron Paul's counter-convention across the river in Minneapolis. After all, that would be a way to reach some potential new consumers, who are very vocal and visible on the Internet -- and aren't likely to quiet down anytime soon.