Corporate interests and influences have gained a great deal of ground in the Democratic Party under Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. For example, Clinton’s 2008 campaign co-chair, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz rescinded a DNC ban enacted by Barack Obama in 2008 on donations from lobbyists and SuperPACS. The decision helped Clinton keep up with Bernie Sanders’ grassroots fundraising.
The Democratic National Convention was as The New Republic’s David Dayen put it, “one big corporate bribe,” with corporations compensated for ignoring the Republican Convention out of fear of bad Donald Trump PR. As far as the elite establishment is concerned, the lines between Democrats and Republicans have blurred, with millionaires and billionaires of all political affiliations pouring donations into Clinton’s campaign.
In 2014, public funding was pulled from both political parties’ conventions, opening the 2016 Democratic National Convention up to dubious donors shielded from transparency. Meanwhile, a 2014 budget law increased contribution limits to political convention committees.
The DNC’s host committee refused to release the list of their donors funding the convention, even after a court order. On Monday, September 26, two months after the convention, the list of donors was finally filed with the FEC during the first presidential debate, in order to fly under the news coverage radar as much as possible.
According to the filing report, some of the donors include George Soros’ son, Alexander, who gave $200,000; Priorities USA, a SuperPAC funded by George Soros, gave $1.5 million; Bank of America gave $1 million; Chevron gave $25,0000; Citigroup gave $100,000; Morgan Stanley gave $75,000; Wells Fargo gave $500,000; former Goldman Sachs Senior Partner Donald Mullen who helped cause the 2008 economic recession gave $100,000; hedge fund investor and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “corporate point-man” Michael J. Sacks donated $300,000. For a political party that nominated Clinton, who hilariously claims to be the champion of Wall Street reform, these prolific donations from the financial industry suggest otherwise.
Blackstone Holdings gave $125,000 to the Democratic National Convention. According to International Business Times, just two months after the private equity firm settled with the SEC due to charges that they exploited monitoring fees to boost the firm at the expense of its investors, Blackstone Holdings president Tony James hosted a fundraiser for Clinton.
When she was a senator, Clinton introduced the TCE Reduction Act of 2008 to regulate the chemical trichloroethylene, of which Dow Chemical was the largest domestic producer. Shortly after Dow Chemical became a sponsor of the Clinton Global Initiative, Clinton backed off the bill. Dow also donated $250,000 to the DNC this year.
Independence Blue Cross, a health insurance company that has actively lobbied against a single-payer healthcare system, donated $1.525 million.
Bennett S. Lebow, chairman of the board of the tobacco holding company the Vector Group, donated $100,000 to the convention. According to the Associated Press, a guest of Lebow’s with ties to the Russian mob attended a fundraiser for Bill Clinton in 1997.
Facebook donated $1.45 million to the convention. Google donated $500,000. Twitter donated $250,000. These donations don’t help the case of these social media sites when they argue that they don’t censor content not in line with their political agenda. In April, several Bernie Sanders groups simultaneously disappeared, with Facebook attributing the shutdown to a glitch.
The Democratic National Convention donor list — and the party’s obstruction of transparency in delaying its release even after they lost in court — further signals that the Democratic Party has been taken over by the corporations and wealthy influences that spend so lavishly on it.