"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Preview of the RNC Convention Events for Wealthy Big Donors/Bundlers

Update 6:47 cdt, 25 Aug 2012:  On Monday the RNC will convene and then adjourn until Tuesday due to threat from Isaac.  Scheduled on Monday night were Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Nikki Haley.

More details from Michael Isakoff on the RNC Convention are emerging.  Looks like the House Republicans were not serious in 2007 when new rules about lobbying were enacted when the Democrats took over after Abramoff:
Craig Holman, a lawyer for Public Citizen, a campaign watchdog group that plans to "bird dog" the parties , says that this year's convention is showcasing new ways that lobbyists are bypassing ethics rules. Those rules -- enacted in 2007 after the Abramoff scandal -- barred lobbyists from throwing parties honoring "a member of Congress." So this year's parties don't honor individual members; they honor groups of members such as "A Salute to the House and Senate Energy and Commerce Committees" being thrown by a new consulting firm called GOP Convention Strategies at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. ("It's a Home Run!" reads the invite.) 
This is beyond disgusting out of Republican House members and lends credibility to the stories that keeping coming up that a lot of the GOP Committee people especially Chairman are bought and paid for by lobbyists.  More evidence that rules do not apply to Republicans today.  They should know better after the Abramoff scandal but it doesn't seem to have phased them as they march on to the drums of the lobbyist.  This article has additional information from the video of Isakoff on the Rachel Maddow show last night:

Tampa soirees will again blur lines between lobbying, partying
By Michael Isikoff, NBC News 
A "salute" to oil baron David Koch. A fete bankrolled by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. And gala bashes for GOP super PAC donors and bundlers featuring rock stars like Kid Rock and ex-Eagles guitarist Don Felder. 
Those are only a handful of the big parties planned for Republican delegates, lawmakers and donors in Tampa starting this weekend. While some of the events are well advertised and open to the public, private schedules, prepared for GOP fundraisers and obtained by NBC News, show that this year's convention will once again provide a unique opportunity for lobbyists and big dollar donors to wine and dine lawmakers -- and press their agendas. 
"It's a mega-fundraising, lobbying extravaganza. Everybody is in one place at one time," says Jack Abramoff, the onetime kingpin lobbyist whose 2006 conviction for corruption led to reforms aimed at cracking down on lobbyist influence peddling. 
Abramoff, who was released from prison last year and will be attending this year's GOP convention as a commentator for "Inside Edition," said that, as far as he can see, lobbyists and their lawyers have merely figured out creative new ways to skirt the rules -- a point underscored by the dizzying array of parties all week in Tampa. "Nothing has really changed," he said. 
Storm warnings notwithstanding, the action begins in earnest Sunday at 5:30 p.m. when one of Washington's biggest lobbying firms, Williams and Jensen (whose current clients include the American Bankers Association, Pfizer and Comcast, which owns NBC) hosts a kick-off reception and dinner for GOP delegates at a local eatery called Bern's Steakhouse. 
Just a half hour later, another big D.C. lobbying powerhouse -- Fierce, Isakowitz and Blalock (current clients: the American Gaming Association, Ford Motor, J.P. Morgan and Time Warner Cable) -- hosts a dinner for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee at the Tampa Museum of Art. 
Then later in the evening, oil giant Chevron and Aflac, the insurance firm, are co-hosts of a "Two Step, Soul and Rock 'N Roll" party at the Historic Cuban Club; AT& T throws a competing party at Armani's Grand Hyatt; and the American Action Network, an "issues advocacy group" headed by former GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, teams up with Citizens United for a bash at Liberty Plaza. 
But delegates may have to pace themselves. On Monday night, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce joins the Distilled Spirits Council for a "Celebrate the Spirit of Tampa" party at the Tampa Aquarium. On Tuesday, Barbour Griffith and Rogers, another of Washington's biggest lobbying firms (among its current clients: Eli Lilly, GlaxoSmithKline and the country of Qatar) hosts the delegates at Stump's Supper Club with a party honoring its founding partner, Haley Barbour, who, after serving as governor of Mississippi and toying with the idea of running for president, has rejoined the firm. 
The next morning, Restore Our Future, the Romney super PAC, offers a private briefing for its mega donors by Sen. Marco Rubio. And that afternoon, the Republican Jewish Coalition throws a "Salute to Pro-Israel Elected Officials at the Crowne Plaza, where the coalition's major bankroller, casino kingpin Adelson, is expected to make a grand appearance. (That's not the only Adelson presence at the convention. According to a report in Yahoo News on Friday, the YG Network -- named for House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor's Young Guns -- has named a "Woman Up!" pavilion for Miriam Adelson, the mogul's Israeli-born wife.) 
But perhaps the most conspicuous honoree is not any member or delegate: It's David Koch, the billionaire oil man who helps run energy giant Koch Industries. Along with his brother, Charles, Koch has emerged as one of the biggest and most controversial financiers of conservative advocacy groups that gave rise to the Tea Party and other GOP causes. On Thursday, Americans for Prosperity -- one of the Koch-backed groups that has announced it plans to spend $151 million on this year's campaign, including a new blitz of TV ads attacking President Barack Obama -- will sponsor "A Salute to Entrepreneurs Building America." 
There will be two men honored at the event: Art Pope, the group's chairman, and Koch. 
Source:  NBC News

Michael Isakoff joins Rachel Maddow to explain how Partisans take a back seat to Big Money in Tampa. This is well worth watching if you really want to know what events are being held for the wealthy donors and the bundlers many of them anonymous:

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

It is shocking that the events are for the wealthy as the most important part of the RNC Convention this year but probably shouldn't be shocked the way the Republican Party starting with the candidate Romney has bowed down to the major donors.  Money corrupts would be an apt statement for a lot of the GOP today in Congress who vote like they are told by lobbyists of the wealthy.

If you are a partisan there is little you can attend outside of the Convention. You can vote on the Platform which is the most conservative in recent history and attend a function honoring one of the Koch Brothers for a reasonable price. They are going back to 1981 to choose the Oak Ridge Boys as the band for the biggest closed door event for wealthy donors and bundlers. Most events are closed to the media so they won't find out who the big donors are. Lobbyists are very prominent this time even though there are rules in place from the Abramoff scandal but as we have learned as this election season has progresses, rules don't apply to Republicans in 2012. Is Abramoff type lobbying scandal just around the Country for some Republicans in Congress?  BTW Abramoff is going to be reporting from the RNC Convention.  How ironic that he now gives a presentation on ethics and corruption in DC.  Guess prison time will do that to a person.

FYI!  The speech by Ann Romney has been moved to a network night from Monday night in hopes the networks will cover her speech.

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