Who didn’t see this one coming a mile away?
In its hard climb to raise $36.6 million for the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte’s host committee is reaching out to one of the party’s perennial allies: labor unions.
They represent a potentially lucrative fountain of money. While the convention’s new self-imposed fundraising rules prohibit cash donations from corporations, lobbyists and PACs, they put no limits on money from union treasuries.
In other words, organizers of the 2012 convention in Charlotte can’t accept a penny in cash from businesses, but can take $1 million or more from a labor union.
“It’s in the master contract,” said host committee spokeswoman Suzi Emmerling, referring to the Charlotte committee’s 52-page agreement with the Democratic National Convention Committee.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Emmerling said, the host committee can accept any amount from another group that has nonprofit status under IRS guidelines. Labor organizations, such as the AFL-CIO, are classified as 501 (c)(5).
On Monday, 30 or so labor representatives were in Charlotte to tour the convention’s major venues: Time Warner Cable Arena, where the delegates will renominate President Barack Obama; Bank of America Stadium, where the president will give his acceptance speech; and the Charlotte Convention Center, where 15,000 journalists and others will set up shop.
Andrews said they were also given material outlining fundraising packages that could bring perks such as tickets to events, access to hospitality suites, credentials and help with hotels.
Among the packages: The “Carolina” (give $100,000 or raise $1 million); the “Trustee” (give $100,000 or raise $650,000); and the “Tar Heel” (give $25,000).
It was unclear Wednesday how responsive labor unions will be in helping bankroll the 2012 convention, scheduled for Sept. 4-6. The national AFL-CIO, for example, declined comment about the Monday tour. And some unions, upset that the Democrats chose to convene in a right-to-work state, say they’ll boycott the Charlotte gathering.
Still, convention organizers expect most unions will supply members as delegates as well as contributions, as they’ve done at past conventions.
BigLaborBailOut writes in response:
Of course this is really nothing new for the DNC. In 2008, the Laborers Union gave $1.5 million to the Denver Host Committee. The National Education Association gave $1.18 million, while the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the American Federation of Teachers each gave a little over $1 million. It could be the same or more in 2012, a reminder of the shameful spending by union bosses out of the pockets of American workers struggling through a brutal economic rough patch.
Thus, the outcome of the CRA is a bit dubious. It appears to compliment a string of efforts by President Obama and Washington lawmakers who are bending over backwards to appease union bosses (some of whom are displeased with the pick of a “right-to-work” state for the convention).
To now ask for cash to pay for a $40 million convention means Big Labor will want payback. Like the CRA vote, expect more favors like this on Capitol Hill as we head into the summer.
Keep in mind, too, that their reliance on Big Labor for $$ and support also means local workers in Charlotte and North Carolina, most of which is not unionized (thankfully), get discriminated against in the process.
The DNC wants to win this state in November – that’s why they picked it for the convention. And they’re going to try to do so, in part, off the backs of non-state workers. You really can’t make this up.