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Senator Barack Obama I say that he is waging a special interest free campaign for the White House but you wouldn't know what by the massive amount of money thrown in for corporate sponsorships of the DNC.
This includes both political conventions not just the Democrats.
In all more than a dozen of the fifty years so corporate sponsors of the DNC -- paid up to one million dollars to get the VIP treatment at the event.
Couple this with expensive lavish parties and it seemed like good -- fashioned special interest lobbying is being held.
-- may be under a flash your -- Here now the closer look Chris gates co chair for the Denver convention committee is joining us by phone.
And bill Allison senior fellow at the Sunlight Foundation an organization which focuses on increasing government transparency bill and Chris.
Thank you both very much bill -- start off with -- out of the Sunlight Foundation feel about this and tell us what companies are throwing big money around.
Why I think when you go back to the origins of campaign finance restrictions and in the the idea is that -- it's wasn't just money going into political campaigns that was of concern to reformers.
In 1970 to your -- -- AT&T corporation giving a 400000 dollar contribution to the Republican national.
And also getting anti trust.
Cases against -- dropped.
This led to a big investigation and part of the first federal election campaign and act was public financing of conventions since that -- The FTC has ruled that corporations can give to the nonprofit organizations that -- the conventions.
And you've reopened the door have a flood now of corporate money coming in them.
You have companies like AstraZeneca pharmaceuticals.
You have AT&T have a letter Edison Electric Institute.
Some of the biggest names in finance.
But on this but Billy is this a problem I -- -- a big event it's like a sporting event in some -- right the big marketing thing.
Why not just put some money on it like a rock concert or anything else -- this type of planning and it.
Because it's we're not talking about the Super Bowl here retirement -- political convention and what's being sold is an air time to persuade the American consumer to buy a product.
What's being sold is political influence and the ability to get you -- agenda across to members of congress.
Two elected officials of the state level at the local level at the federal level and that access to politicians as what the companies are paying -- box for our Chris gates do you believe this -- influence peddling.
Well -- let me first say that that most of the money that we -- is.
You couldn't really characterizes the other way that boosting this city and county of Denver for the this state of Colorado and you know that's so energy is put five billion dollars into the Democratic Convention -- five billion dollars it will -- -- imagine.
Because we're both -- their service area and so I think that probably they did a lot of there's a booster than there -- no.
The court was looking forward to give us a million dollars for those that he and so.
Honestly we'll tell you that.
It most of the people who didn't check -- but that those committees are connected to -- business connected to our business.
But but I won't I won't -- that I also fully understand.
Of course this behavior and I think that in some ways that we didn't even as people who involving -- merchant -- imagined it.
There's the wounds will be the state or you're actually -- because it does eager these sort of the last place you.
We sort of changed the way -- politics at every level but there's one and so.
And you know I know what Chris you know bill's point was that this in the Super Bowl but it it looks like I made about a TV coverage.
But just for the amount of cost I don't know what you're gonna say that we need the money.
To fund this convention because it's such a big deal.
Maybe we should be asking the question of why is it such a big deal why does it have to be so expensive why can't we tone -- down in future years and just remove the need.
For corporate money which -- when people -- politics and money together you know what they're gonna think.
Well put let me just say that I think there's great point and a great question these events but both both parties are gonna cost more than a hundred billion dog -- Fifty we each city got fifty million dollars -- Federal follows for a security -- cities -- -- raised.
Over fifty million dollars the paper.
Everything that happens on the ground it's a fair question to say is this model of conventions because they -- and frankly.
The conversation I've -- gonna happen between now and 2012.
Is going to be about whether or not but network should pay more money because in -- -- this is.
Three quarter a broad television networks reported -- -- immediate.
You know the question is who really should be paid for this but I totally -- But this is a model bill may have run its course and we got an honest conversation about.
Who pays for prevention rather look at the future of -- work in the future.
You know bill we put companies' feet to the fire on this and everybody says wow we're sponsoring -- so it's OK I mean do you feel that way if you're if you're given a million bucks the both sides.
Does that make it okay.
Well I think that you know both parties regardless of who has the majority in congress and who has the White House both parties still play a role in congress.
You know there's there's ranking members of the committee that have a lot of power there is.
In the senate you know you you can always have the filibuster so there's a reason for companies to hedge their bets as they always do they tend to -- a little more to the party in power.
I don't think that just because the parties are giving splitting their money between the Republicans and the Democrats means that.
Their interest isn't on something other than boosting the host city and I think that that interest is ultimately on affecting federal policy and government policy.
Bill also -- some -- fascination bill thank you very much Chris gates.
He is co chairman of the Denver convention committee Chris thank you very much for joining us we do appreciate it.
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