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Dem convention used corporate cash, despite pledge
The Democratic National Convention relied on at least $5 million in corporate donations, despite repeated pledges by top party officials only to use money raised from individuals.
Reports filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission show the convention's host committee, Charlotte in 2012, raised $24 million, well short of its $36.7 million fundraising goal.
To help make up for the shortfall, committee officials spent $5 million raised directly from corporations to rent the cavernous basketball arena used as the convention hall. They spent nearly $8 million more from a line of credit provided by Charlotte-based Duke Energy, the nation's largest electricity provider.
Top Democrats, including Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had pledged prior to the 2012 convention not to raise money from special interests and to cap individual donations at $100,000.
"This convention will be different," Wasserman Schultz said last year at the convention kickoff event in Charlotte. "We will make this the first convention in history that does not accept any funds from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. This will be the first modern political convention funded by the grassroots, funded by the people."
In addition to spending cash from corporate sponsors on direct convention expenses, records show much off the $24 million billed as being raised from individual donors came from special interest groups that employ lobbyists, corporate-funded foundations and the very wealthy.
Democratic National Committee spokeswoman Melanie Roussell said Wednesday it is not illegal for convention host committees to raise unlimited corporate money and that the party had placed the fundraising restrictions on itself.