Editorial

A corrupting influence

Friday, May 13, 2016

According to a report in the New York Times, the 2016 Republican and Democratic nominating conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia will be bankrolled entirely with money from corporations and wealthy individuals.

In 1972, legislation favorable to the ITT Corporation was directly linked to a $400,000 pledge from ITT to fund the Republican convention. Following that scandal, the federal government provided public financing of national political conventions and prohibited corporate financing of the conventions.

The use of supposedly independent committees to pay for convention expenses became a way for corporations to indirectly funnel payment for convention costs above the amount provided through public financing ($12 million to each party in 2012, or about a quarter of the total cost).

A change in law in 2014 eliminated public financing of the conventions.

There should be no public financing of conventions, nor should there be corporate donations to pay for conventions. Fund raising events over a four-year period plus serious cost cutting should be implemented to restore the integrity of the conventions.