Bank Of America And Billionaires Funded Republican & Democratic Conventions
OpenSecrets.org, one of the best sites for tracking money in politics, just tallied up the major funders of the Republican and Democratic national conventions, and their findings are revealing.
No surprises with the Republicans — the ones they are beholden to for having funded their extravaganza are mostly billionaires and huge corporations.
The biggest revelations came from the Democratic Party tally. As some anticipated, unions came up short for Obama’s Convention this year. Having shelled out $8.3 million in 2008, they gave nearly 30% less.
But not to worry, Obama had taken care of one moneyed interest group who was all too happy to step up. Bank of America practically self-funded the event, underwriting approximately 1/3 of its entire expense. And just to be sure they covered their bases, Bank of America also tossed the GOP $1.1 million for theirs in Tampa.
This may provide a clue as to why bankers, whose fraudulent activities brought down the entire world economy, still seem to enjoy an unspoken immunity from any criminal prosecutions.
Small donors, incidentally, contributed a mere .00002% — not joking — of the RNC’s funds. And only 6 people — you read that right — donated between $200 and $500. Hands-down, the RNC is an event entirely funded by the wealthiest few individuals and corporations in the nation.
The Democratic Party did better with small donors, as they provided 2.5% of the DNC’s funds. And they did much better with donors contributing between $200 and $500: 1,558 contributed. Though the Democrats are still lopsidedly dependent on influence-peddlers, when compared to the Republicans’ donor list they might actually tout these numbers.
Money Behind The Two Parties’ Parties
The Republican Party, which held its 2012 convention in Tampa, FL, raised $55.8 Million. The following were some key contributors:
- Sheldon Adelson (Las Vegas casino mogul, fanatically pro-Israel) : $5 million (9% of total)
- Bill Edwards (CEO of Mortgage Investor’s Corp.): $4.6 million (8.24%)
- AT&T (in addition to $3M, gave in-kind donations for phone service): $3 million (5.4%)
- American Petroleum Institute: $2 million (3.6%)
- Microsoft: $1.6 million (2.9%)
- Bank of America: $1.1 million (2%)
- David Koch (billioinaire Koch brother): $1 million (1.8%)
- Paul Singer (Elliott Management): $1 million (1.8%)
- Robert Mercer (of hedge fund, Renaissance Technologies): $1 million (1.8%)
- Paulson & Company (hedge fund run by John Paulson): $1 million (1.8%)
- James S. Davis (chairman of shoe company New Balance): $1 million (1.8%)
- Florida Power and Light: $1 million (1.8%)
- United Health Care Services: $522,000
- American Indian tribes (2 tribes contributed): $450,000
- America’s Natural Gas Alliance: $400,000
- New York Yankees: $150,000
- Small donors (Total unitemized contributions of $200 or less): $1,200 (.00002%)
- Number of donors giving between $200-$500: Six donors
The Democratic Party, which held its convention in Charlotte, NC, raised $35 Million. The following were some key contributors:
- Bank of America: $10.9 million (31.14% of total)
- Unions: $5.9 million (17%)
- Duke Energy (lobbied H.R.910 to keep EPA from regulating emissions of green house gases): $1.5 million (4.3%)
- American Indian tribes (4 tribes contributed): $400,000
- James Rogers (Duke Energy CEO): $339,000
- Tides Foundation (partially funded by Soros’ Open Society Institute) : $310,000
- Small donors (Total unitemized contributions of $200 or less): $866,000 (2.5%)
- Number of donors giving between $200-$500: 1,558 donors
DNC Platform Change Vote Was Predetermined On Teleprompter, Delegate Voting Was Merely For Show
Controversy erupted at the DNC this week when Democratic party leaders forced a party platform change to reinstate language proclaiming Jerusalem as “Israel’s undivided capital,” and to reinstate references to God in the text.
The motion had to be voted on by a two-thirds majority of the delegates for passage, and it became clear, after several vote calls by LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a major majority did NOT want the platform changed.
Confused on how to proceed, the Mayor looked to a woman who came out and advised him, “Just keep going, they’re going to do what they are going to do.”
The mayor then pronounced, “in the opinion of the chair, two-thirds have voted in the affirmative,” provoking boos from the large crowd.
Well, now Fox News is showing footage of the DNC teleprompter the Mayor was reading from. It shows that the two-thirds majority needed for the passage of the motion had been predetermined by party leaders, with complete disregard for how the delegates actually voted. Apparently, they forgot to tell the Mayor in advance that the vote was merely for show; that the only results that mattered were written on the teleprompter.
What this so clearly highlights is the contempt that political power elites hold for the democratic process and the will of the majority — even within their own party.
Is The Coffee Party Shilling For The DNC?
I was intrigued by the news that a counter-Tea Party movement was formulating on the Left, calling itself the Coffee Party. I envisioned a group perhaps better educated than the misguided Tea Partiers, though driven by a comparable populist anger. After all, many on the Left feel royally duped by their supposed change-agent, President Barack Obama.
He has broken A LOT of promises — ones which were VERY IMPORTANT to his once energized supporters, leaving them thoroughly demoralized. Here are just a few of Obama’s broken promises:
- He would not come to Washington and cut back door deals with entrenched interests — there would be complete transparency during health care negotiations (on C-SPAN), and everyone would get a seat at the table. Nope.
- He would not allow lobbyists nor those with conflicts of interests to serve in his administration.
- A public option would be a key component of any health care bill, and he promised not to mandate that Americans purchase health insurance from ‘for profit’ health insurance companies. He then did the very opposite once elected.
- Americans would be able to buy their medicines from other developed countries if the drugs are safe and priced lower than in the U.S., and he’d allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices. Nope, instead he cut a back door deal with the Pharmaceutical Industry agreeing to ban it.
- As President, he would recognize the Armenian Genocide (he used very strong language on this matter). However, once elected he refused to acknowledge it as genocide (when asked by reporters) in Turkey, and he then proceeded to lobby Congress this week to deny a vote on Resolution 252 that would have made such an acknowledgment.
- He would close Guantanamo Bay immediately, and to restore habeas corpus. Nope, he plans to keep suspects imprisoned indefinitely without trial, and Guantanamo Bay remains open for business.
- He would reject the Military Commissions Act, which allowed the U.S. to circumvent Geneva Conventions in the handling of detainees. Nope.
- In the spirit of transparency he would amend executive orders to ensure that communications about regulatory policymaking between persons outside government and all White House staff are disclosed to the public. Nope.
So naturally, I would have expected to see some of this mentioned on the site of this new ‘grass routes movement’ calling itself the Coffee Party. On the contrary, they don’t seem to advocate for a single issue or policy proposal; the group seems completely void of substance.
Take the Coffee Party’s Mission Statement:
The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.
“Cooperation”?! That sounds A LOT like “BI-PARTISANSHIP” to me. You know, the term Obama uses as a means to promote corporatist (anti-populist) policies under the cover of “a need to compromise with Republicans or ‘Centrists’.” Let’s face it, President Obama has rhetorically opted for bi-partisanship as a means to crush meaningful change since the very first day he took office. And yet this Coffee Party is ironically parroting Obama’s key talking point in their ‘grass routes’ mission statement? Could this group be shilling for Obama’s political arm — the now crumbling Organizing For America?
There’s nothing in that Coffee Party’s mission statement that suggests a move towards populism or an effort to pull Obama further to the Left (back towards the promises he ran on). Wouldn’t that be the equivalent to what the Tea Party is trying to accomplish from their end? Aren’t Tea Partiers, as delusional as they may be, trying to pull Republican politicians towards populist policies important to them?
Whereas Tea Partiers seem disenchanted with both the Republican party and the government, Coffee Partiers seem contented with the Democratic Party and the government. The only issue that seems to resonate with the Coffee Party is Republican obstructionism. In fact, I couldn’t find a single criticism of the President, nor a mention of Democratic betrayals on their entire site. Some ‘grass routes’ movement!
The group asks every Coffee Party member to sign the following Civility Pledge:
As a member or supporter of the Coffee Party, I pledge to conduct myself in a way that is civil, honest, and respectful toward people with whom I disagree. I value people from different cultures, I value people with different ideas, and I value and cherish the democratic process.
It appears this group is more interested in making a statement about the ugliness they see at Tea Party gatherings than they are in actually promoting policies that might improve Americans’ lives. Their elected Democratic representatives (who control all branches of government) have been selling them out for one year now by putting entrenched interests above their own, and Coffee Partiers don’t have a single thing to complain about with regards to their own party?
Watch this video (off their home page) which the Coffee Party is using to sell themselves, and then tell me if you believe these people are issue-driven:
If this were a Tea Party video, you’d hear a lot of passionate — admittedly crazy-sounding — angst about how their party and government is disappointing them. Tea Partiers joined together as a ‘grass routes movement’, because they feel very strongly about specific issues. The Coffee Party doesn’t seem to stand for anything, beyond getting together to sip lattes.
Surely they must have a strong feeling about some issue of importance to Americans (in the midst of two wars, a horrific recession, and a government that is no longer responsive to the people)? Issues drive movements, not Kumbaya gathering. It’s as if the DNC itself has choreographed a “grass routes movement” void of the populist fervor that once drove Organizing For America.